Category Archives: Foot controls

Foot controls for wheelchair van and vehicle users in New England, Boston MA

How To Properly Insure Your Accessible Wheelchair Van

Everyone understands that it’s a legal requirement to have their vehicles insured and recognizes the value of being properly insured in case of an accident. But, most people are not insurance experts. In fact, some aspects of vehicle insurance confuse many people.


In order to keep your accessible van as safe as you can make sure you’re protecting it with the right types of commercial auto insurance. Here are the primary types of insurance you’ll need:

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is normally required by law in all parts of the United States. This coverage is designed to protect other people from suffering losses that are caused when your wheelchair van causes an auto accident. Liability insurance primarily focuses on two coverage areas: Bodily injuries and Property Damages.

  • Bodily Injury – This section of your liability insurance policy helps pay for any injuries inflicted on other people from an auto accident. If your mobility van causes, or is found to be at fault for, an auto accident that causes people to get physically hurt, the bodily injury portion of your coverage pays for their medical expenses. When an injured person must be transported to the hospital for example, your bodily injury coverage can pay for the ambulatory bills and expenses. It also pays for the emergency room care, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, rehabilitation and other medical bills that are caused due to the auto accident. Bodily injury also pays for a person’s lost wages when they must miss work due to recovery times, and it pays for pain and suffering of the victims. When a person is killed in an auto accident, your bodily injury insurance can pay their funeral expenses as well.
  • Property Damage – When a vehicle or other property sustains damages from an auto accident that was caused by your handicap van, the property damages portion of your liability insurance will pay for the cost of repairs.

Liability insurance can provide your wheelchair van with protection at varying levels, based on the amount of coverage you select. You can choose a standard split level policy or a combined single limit policy as well.

A split limit policy sets maximum benefit limits on two separate portions of an auto accident claim. Split limit policies will pay no more than the set limit per person for bodily injuries but no more than the total combined limit for all bodily injuries in an accident. It will also pay a separate maximum for property damages. Example: A liability split limit policy of $15,000/$50,000/$35,000 explains a specific payment maximum per accident. No more than $15,000 will be paid for any individual person’s bodily injuries in one accident; no more than $50,000 will be paid for the combined total of bodily injuries; and $35,000 is the maximum amount the policy will pay for property damages.

If you elect a single combined limit liability policy instead, there is no separate maximum limit defined for bodily injuries or property damages. There is just one maximum overall payout for the policy for each accident. A $50,000 combined single limit liability policy for example, would pay a maximum of $50,000 in damages per accident regardless of whether the damages were to people or property.

Medical Payments

Medical payments insurance is important coverage for a wheelchair van, because it pays medical related expenses that arise for your van driver and any passengers who were riding in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Coverage is for paying medical and related bills, such as ambulance transport, hospital care and follow up treatments. This insurance protects your driver and passengers without regard to who causes an auto accident. It is not available in all areas however, so be sure to contact one of your licensed representatives to determine if it’s an option for your policy.

Physical Damage Insurance

Physical damages insurance protects your wheelchair accessible vehicle itself. And it protects your you from having to pay the bills when the van is damaged or destroyed. This insurance is extremely important for you  if you still have an outstanding unpaid finance loan because it provides you with the most protection possible. There are three types of physical damages insurance protection:

  • Comprehensive Physical Damage Protection – Comprehensive damages protects you from a number of potential risks, perils and hazards. It does not protect against damages and losses caused by a collision or caused when your van overturns. It does however, protect against losses and damages caused by theft, break ins, vandalism and natural events. If your van is damaged due to a tree falling on it in a storm for example, your comprehensive damage protection coverage will pay for the repairs.
  • Collision Protection – Collision protection is specifically designed to pay for damages and destruction that are caused by a collision or by a roll over event. If your van has a blowout and overturns for example, your collision damage protection will pay for the repairs. If the van backs into a building while trying to access a wheelchair ramp, the collision damage protection pays for those repairs as well.
  • Specified Peril (CAC) – Pecified Peril coverage is also known as Fire and Theft with Combined Additional Coverage. This does not protect you against collision or roll over events. Instead, it protects you from just those perils that are specified on your insurance policy.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist

If your van is involved in an auto accident with another vehicle and that other vehicle was the cause for the accident, their liability insurance is supposed to pay for your bodily injuries and property damages. If the other driver does not carry insurance however, or if they do not carry enough coverage to pay all of the resulting bills, they are considered uninsured or underinsured. You can purchase protection against these risks with an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy. When the other driver is at fault but unable to pay for all of your damages, your policy will pick up the difference. This policy works much like your Liability policy.

  • Bodily Injury – As covered with Liability Insurance.
  • Property Damage – As covered with Liability Insurance.
  • Collision Deductible Waiver (CDW) – When you carry an uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury policy on your wheelchair van, you can qualify for a collision deductible waiver (CDW). The CDW makes it so that you do not have to pay your standard insurance deductible when you make an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident claim.

Other Important Commercial Auto Insurance for Wheelchair Vans

  • Special Equipment Coverage – This type of coverage covers every aspect of vehicle adaptation including mobility equipment such as a lift, ramp, lowered floor, kneeling systems, a lock-down system, or any other added adaptive driving equipment (hand controls and left foot accelerators).
  • Rental – If your van is unusable due to an auto accident, rental insurance can pay for the cost of a temporary replacement.
  • Towing – Towing insurance pays for the cost of towing your accessible vehicle from the scene of an accident when it is badly damaged.
  • Accessories – Accessories insurance protects you from losses associated with extra devices you may have installed on your van. A wheelchair van taxi may have a mileage meter installed for example, and a communications radio to keep them in contact with their dispatcher.

** The limits of your coverage and your deductibles for each element of your policy will vary based upon what you’ve purchased from your insurance company.

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Parkinson's Awareness

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time.

As many as one million individuals in the US live with Parkinson’s disease. While approximately four percent of people with Parkinson’s are diagnosed before the age of 50, incidence increases with age.

Its major symptoms vary from person to person, but can include tremor, slowness of movements, limb stiffness, and difficulties with gait and balance. The cause of the disease is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage the symptoms.

If you have questions about wheelchair accessible vehicles and are in the New England area give us a call @ 508-697-6006

 

New England Wheelchair Van Collision Repair

Wheelchair Van Collision Repair at VMi New England Mobility Center, Bridgewater, MA

We can and will repair, service, preform preventative maintenance and help you with collision damage even if you bought your van elsewhere.

  • No Hassle Insurance Claim Handling
  • Direct Repair For Major Insurance Companies
  • State of the Art Collision Repair Facility
  • Baked on Finish
  • Expert Color Matching
  • Unibody & Frame Straightening
  • Vehicle Detailing
  • Car Rental Available
  • Licensed Vehicle Estimator

Wheelchair Van Auto Body Repairs in MA, RI, CT, VT, NH and ME

For more than 30 years, the crew at VMi New England Mobility Collision Center has been offering auto body repairs that has developed strong relationships with our clients. As a locally owned facility, we provide you with affordable options. We also believe in fast, punctual service, so we don’t leave you waiting forever when you need to get back on the road as quickly as possible.

We’re quick to respond to your inquiries, and we can often offer same-day service from certified expert technicians. We handle foreign and domestic wheelchair van repair, and some of our services include:

  • Auto glass replacement
  • Auto body and dent repair
  • Towing service

When it’s in New England and mobility van auto body repairs that you need, The Mobility Center in Bridgewater, MA is one of the top shops to call. We’re here Monday – Friday and we’ll work by appointment on the weekends. Contact us today to request your sound estimate 508-697-6006.

Mobility Rebate Programs

Whether you’re looking for a wheelchair accessible minivan, a full-size van, or a lift/ramp for your wheelchair van, your financial investment is always going to be a major consideration. We understand the importance of the investment our customers make and we always strive to produce superior products and provide excellent service.

In today’s difficult economy, every cent counts when you’re making decisions about what you can and can’t afford to go without. Feeling that your mobility is restricted by financial constraints is discouraging, and we don’t like the idea of anyone having to face that challenge and find no answers or possibilities. That’s why we are extremely well informed and able to assist you in navigating your way through the myriad of grants, tax incentives, and rebate programs.

Every auto manufacturer offers a mobility rebate program of some type and they are definitely worth looking into. Here is some information about rebates for wheelchair vans and wheelchair lifts/ramps. For more personalized information, contact us and we will help guide you through the process of applying and receiving these rebates.

Toyota Mobility Dealer
The Toyota Mobility Program provides up to $1,000 in reimbursement for adaptive equipment (such as wheelchair lifts, assistive seating, driving aids, and more) installed on new Toyota vehicles within 12 months of the delivery date of the vehicle.

Dodge/Chrysler Automobility Dealer
Chrysler’s AutoMobility Program is similar to the program mentioned above, with reimbursements from $400-$1,000 available depending on the type of adaptive equipment installed..

Honda Mobility Dealer
The Honda Mobility Assistance Program offers reimbursement up to $1,000 for adaptive equipment installed on a new Honda!

Lexus Mobility
The Lexus Mobility Program supports the mobility needs of Lexus owners and/or family members with physical disabilities.

 If you have any questions about these programs, just give our us a call or visit us today. We’re always happy to help!

Dodge/ Chrysler’s Mobility Rebate

Chrysler’s Automobility Program

Overview
Designed to help customers with permanent disabilities enter, exit and/or operate a new vehicle, Chrysler’s Automobility Program can help you do the things you love to do in life. And, we’ll help you hit the road in the style that suits you best. Our goal is to assist in lessening the burden of the financial cost of modifying your vehicle.

How the Program Works
When you buy or lease any new 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013 Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram or FIAT® vehicle from a participating dealership or FIAT studio, Chrysler will give you a cash reimbursement to help reduce the cost of installing the adaptive driver or passenger equipment on your vehicle. Leased vehicles must be leased for a minimum of 12 months to be eligible.

Once you have a 2010-2013 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle that fits your transportation needs, contact a reputable and qualified adaptive equipment installer to ensure that it can be adapted to meet your needs.

Please consult a dealership or call Automobility Program Headquarters for eligibility requirements and program expiration dates.

A program application must be used to submit a claim for reimbursement under the terms and conditions of the Chrysler Automobility Program. Through this program, Chrysler will provide a reimbursement to each eligible customer who installs qualifying adaptive driver or passenger equipment on a purchased or leased new Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle (unless discontinued or excluded earlier at the discretion of Chrysler Group LLC).

A medical doctor’s prescription or note may also be required for certain types of modifications. Consult a dealership for more information on which modifications require notes.

Reimbursement
Conversions to Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicles qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $1,000. Running boards qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $400. Alerting devices qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $200. These reimbursements will not be reduced or affected by any additional outside funding. Consult your dealer for complete eligibility requirements.

Eligible Vehicles
Vehicles eligible for reimbursement include 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram and FIAT vehicles. Dodge Viper, Dodge Dart SE and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT® models are ineligible.

Financing
If you require assistance with financing an adapted vehicle purchase / lease, we can help you finance the cost of your new vehicle, as well as any modifications you make to it. Conventional financing is available through Ally Financial to all qualified new vehicle buyers.

Click HERE for the Application

Honda Mobility Rebate Information

Honda’s Mobility Assistance Program
The Honda Customer Mobility Assistance Program is proud to support the mobility needs of drivers and passengers with physical disabilities. Honda will provide a reimbursement of up to $1,000 to each eligible, original retail customer for expenses incurred to purchase and install qualifying adaptive equipment on any eligible purchased or leased Honda vehicle.

Adapting Your Vehicle
Honda suggests that you request a copy of the Department of Transportation brochure “Adapting Motor Vehicles for People with Disabilities.”  

The process includes these steps:

  • Determine your state’s driver’s license requirements.
  • Evaluate your needs – Contact the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) for further information.
  • Select the right vehicle – Consult with your evaluator, an adaptive installer and your local Honda dealer to determine the best Honda model to meet your needs.
  • Choose a qualified mobility equipment installer – Shop around and ask about qualifications, capabilities, experience, warranty coverage and service. Confirm that they are members of NMEDA.
  • Obtain training on the use of the new equipment – When this process is complete, follow the guidelines and complete and submit an application for assistance to recover up to $1,000 of the cost of your adaptive equipment and/or conversion.

Program Requirements
General

  • Only the original vehicle owner is eligible for reimbursement.
  • Modifications must be completed for the original owner or his/her immediate family.
  • Only new Honda vehicles retailed or leased in the United States from an authorized Honda dealership.
  • Only one reimbursement request per vehicle.
  • Lease-vehicle modifications may be subject to written lessor approval. The customer is responsible for determining and satisfying lease-contract requirements.
  • Honda will consider reimbursement for modifications made to vehicle after February 1, 2004.
  • The written reimbursement request must be received within 6 months of the adaptive equipment installation.

Adaptations, Modifications or Equipment Installation

  • Qualifying adaptive equipment or conversion is defined as: alterations or adaptive-equipment installation that provides to the disabled user convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle.
  • Adaptive equipment installation must have taken place within the time and mileage limits of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty.
  • Alterations or adaptive equipment installation requires a prescription or medical documentation to be considered for reimbursement.
  • Reimbursement requests (invoices) will be compared against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Web site to verify that the alterer or repair business (individual, partnership or corporation) is registered with NHTSA and that the modification(s) are on the list of NHTSA exemptions.
  • If all conditions are met, Honda will provide up to a $1,000 cash reimbursement. Honda will be the secondary coverage in the case of two or more reimbursement sources.

Exceptions

  • Wheelchair or scooter hoists or ramps do not require a prescription, medical documentation or NHTSA exemption verification and NHTSA business registration for reimbursement consideration.
  • Modifications that DO NOT make inoperative any part of a device or element of design that has been installed on or in a motor vehicle in compliance with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard will not require NHTSA exemption verification and NHTSA business registration for reimbursement consideration.
  • *A reimbursement made by another source, such as medical insurance, will be subtracted from the customer’s original total expense. (Example: Total expense $5,000, Insurance reimbursement $4,000, Customer expense, $1,000. The customer expense of $1,000 will be reviewed and considered for a maximum of $1,000 reimbursement.)

Important Customer Information

  • The selection of an equipment manufacturer and installer is solely the customer’s responsibility (Honda does not endorse any company or supplier involved in adaptive equipment. Mobility warranty, installation warranty and related liabilities are not the responsibility of Honda).
  • The reimbursement application form must be completed in its entirety and signed by the customer. It should be mailed along with a copy of all required supporting documentation. (See checklist on application).

Click HERE For the Honda Mobility Assistance Brochure

Holiday Travel Preparation

With the holidays only a few short weeks away, it’s time to get plans for family visits and end of year trips finalized before the busy season is in full swing. Traveling with a disability that requires mobility equipment can quickly become a stressful task if proper accommodations have not been made in advance.  Preparing ahead of time can save you some headaches when it is time to board your plane. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your upcoming vacations:

  • Be sure to inform your airline if you or someone you are traveling with uses a wheelchair, mobility equipment or will need to bring medical equipment onto the aircraft.
  • Ensure you have refilled prescriptions for any medications you may need throughout the duration of your trip.
  • If you need to rent a car, make these arrangements in advance to guarantee a handicap accessible vehicle.
  • If possible, bring any tools you might need in case you experience any issues with your wheelchair. If you have replacement parts, it might be a good idea to bring these along as well.
  • If your wheelchair must be checked for your flight, make sure to tag it as you would the rest of your luggage. Include your name and contact details, as well as those of your hotel or wherever else you may be staying.
  • Staying somewhere other than home can be a challenge so make sure your hotel or other arrangements are accessible by wheelchair (if necessary) and can otherwise accommodate you.
  • Plan to arrive at the airport as early as possible to ensure you have plenty of time to make your way through security and finalize any special accommodations you might require for your mobility equipment.
  • When booking your flights, know that passengers requiring a wheelchair are generally the first to board and last to leave the plane, meaning that connecting flights with short layovers may become difficult.

Despite having to take select special measures, those living with disabilities should not be apprehensive to fly or travel. Airlines have become more and more accommodating and understanding, making this the perfect time to book a vacation and get back in touch with faraway friends and family.

Accessible Vehicles And Adaptive Mobility Equipment Q&A

Rear entry vs. side entry. Buying online. Buying used. What do you need to know to get maximum benefit for minimum expense?

Good information is the key to saving money and getting the most value for the dollar when making a big-ticket purchase like a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

With that in mind, Seek out and find experts who truly care for answers to some common questions about adaptive mobility equipment.

Q: Can I just go to a car dealer down the street or do I need a certified mobility dealer?

A: Certified mobility dealers help consumers buy the right vehicle and adaptive mobility equipment to meet their mobility needs now and in the future. Future planning is especially important for people with muscle diseases that get progressively worse over time.

“There are so many different products out there, and technology has improved so much. We just want to help people make the right decision,” says Jim Sanders, president of Automotive Innovations based in Bridgewater, MA for over 25 years.

“Many times, consumers will go to a car dealer and buy [a vehicle] that can’t be modified or one that doesn’t fit their needs. And once you buy a vehicle, normally it’s very difficult to return it.”

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), a nonprofit organization that provides consumer guidance and ensures quality and professionalism in the manufacturing and installation of mobility equipment. Members include mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers, driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals.

NMEDA member-dealers must follow the safety standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in addition to NMEDA’s own stringent guidelines.

Some dealers choose to enroll in NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP), which requires them to adhere to national motor vehicle safety standards, and use proven quality control practices to yield the highest level of performance and safety. Automotive Innovations was the First Mobility Dealer in Massachusetts to enroll and exceed the safety standards.

“The QAP dealer is audited by an outside engineering firm to verify that technicians have been trained, make sure the dealer has insurance and make sure the facility is ADA-compliant,”

So it means the QAP dealer is going above and beyond.”

Other reasons to seek out a certified mobility equipment dealer include:

They provide a link to qualified service and repair, that it’s crucial to have done on a adapted vehicle serviced.

Some manufacturers of adapted vehicles sell directly to consumers, cutting costs by cutting out the middle man, says Jim Sanders, of VMi New England, based in Bridgewater, MA.

But expert assessment and “try before you buy” remain essentials for prospective buyers, with or without a dealer in the middle.

For example, We, a NMEDA QAP-certified member, send representatives to customers’ homes for assessment and test drives before they buy, and also offer unmatched service/maintenance to just about any modified vehicle including Rollx vans.

Q: Can I get a better price if I buy online rather than from a dealer?

A: As with any online shopping, the warning “buyer beware” rings true. Buying online without trying out different vehicles with different conversions can be a costly mistake. Furthermore there are many grey market converted vans being offered as quality conversions.

Online, clients are mostly shopping blind. Typically they have no idea how the vehicle they need will even work fro them, even if they have specific recommendations from a driver evaluator or occupational therapist.

“You definitely shouldn’t buy it online,” “There not trying to assess your needs by e-mail or over the phone. There just trying to sell you something.

Some online dealers even have a questionnaire on its Web site to try and give you the idea your getting what you need. But, it will never replace being able to go to a local mobility dealership and try the vans out first hand.

A mobility vehicle is probably the second-largest purchase after a house. You should see it, try it out, and make sure it’s something that will work for you. It’s horrible when people get something that they’re disappointed in.

Every vehicle is a little bit different — such as in the dimensions, electrical and fuel systems, or suspension modifications. “If you go online and buy [based] on price, you’re not really looking at the total package.”

While buying online maybe able to save money up front, it wont over the long term.

In addition to consumers missing out on the important local service contact that a mobility equipment dealer provides, these online deals or grey market vans are worth much less when it comes time to trade it in.

Where do you want to sit? If you plan to drive from your wheelchair, then a side-entry conversion is what you’ll need, unless you can transfer to the driver’s seat (rear entry). With a rear-entry conversion, the wheelchair user typically is positioned in the back or between two mid-row captain’s seats, while a side entry offers a wheelchair user multiple seating options in the driver, front passenger and middle sections.

Q: What are some common mistakes people make when buying a modified vehicle?

A: Manufacturers and mobility dealers agree that one of the most common — and costly — mistakes is buying the vehicle first and then shopping for the conversion or adaptive mobility equipment. Not all vehicles can be converted.

For example, If you purchase a minivan from a traditional car dealership you can hit a roadblock if it doesn’t meet specific requirements to have the floor lowered for a rear- or side-entry conversion.

Q: What are some good questions to ask a dealer or manufacturer?

A: Although buying a modified vehicle can be “a daunting experience,” says VMI’s Monique McGivney, it also can be “exciting and fun when you walk in armed with good questions and information.”

Prior to getting an assessment from a mobility dealer, evaluate your needs and try answering the following questions:

  • What vehicle will fit in my garage?
  • What kind of parking issues will I encounter where I live?
  • What is the size and weight of my wheelchair?
  • What is my seated height in the wheelchair?
  • How many people will ride in the vehicle?
  • In what part of the vehicle do I want to sit?
  • Will I be able to drive with hand controls?
  • Do I want a full-size van, minivan or alternative vehicle?
  • Do I want manual or power equipment?
  • Will an in-floor ramp or fold-out ramp meet my needs?
  • What is my budget, and do I have access to supplemental funding?

The first question mobility dealers usually ask a client is: “What is your seated height in the wheelchair?” From there, the dealer can advise whether a full-size or minivan is appropriate, and what kind of conversion is needed.

Be sure to ask the dealer about the warranty and how the vehicle can be serviced.

Q: Which is better: rear entry or side entry?

A: The most important difference between a rear- and side-entry conversion is that with a rear entry, wheelchair users can’t drive from their wheelchairs nor can they ride in the front passenger seat. From there, the choice comes down to personal preference and budget.

In recent years, because of quality, convenience and cost, there’s been a shift toward side entry vehicles. Rear entry is more of a frugal modification, involves a less of conversion process and is typically a little less expensive than a side-entry conversion.

Many people prefer side entry with a in-floor conversion for many safety reasons additionally because they can park almost anywhere and not worry deploying the ramp out into traffic. Also, side entry allows the consumer to ride in the passengers front position along with maintain the rear seats in a minivan because the conversion doesn’t affect that area.

Rear entry is harder to get out of compared to a side-entry.

Anyway you look at it side-entry vehicles are more versatile. For example, side entry allows someone with a progressively worsening condition to use the vehicle for a longer period of time. A wheelchair user can start out driving from his or her chair, and then move to several other positions in the vehicle when no longer able to drive.

Side-entry conversions typically are a little more expensive than rear-entry because they’re more intrusive and labor intensive. For example, with a minivan, the entire floor and frame must be removed and replaced with a lowered floor and new frame.

Q: What’s the difference between a fold-out ramp and in-floor ramp?

A: This decision comes down to safety, aesthetics, convenience and cost.

A fold-out ramp folds up into the vehicle, takes up valuable space in the passengers front area and must be deployed whenever the door is opened.

The in-floor ramp slides under the floor, so it safer for anyone seated in the passengers front position, mid-ship position, there’s no obstruction to the door, and other passengers can enter and exit without deploying the ramp. In-floor ramps only are currently only available for side-entry minivan conversions, and there is even a manual (unpowered) option.

In-floor ramps in addition to being safer will generally provide more room in the vehicle because there’s nothing blocking the doorway. The ramp is “out of sight, out of mind and may last longer because it doesn’t have to be deployed each time the side passenger door opens.

Fold-out ramps generally cost a little less than in-floor, and consumers can select from manual and power versions; a power fold-out ramp still costs less than an in-floor ramp.

If an in-floor ramp system breaks down or the vehicle loses power, VMI’s in-floor ramp systems have a backup system (sure-deploy) that bypasses the vehicle’s battery.

A lot of people just feel more secure knowing there isn’t a fold-out ramp next to them in the event of a accident.

Q: I use a wheelchair, but a van or minivan just isn’t “me.” Are they my only options?

A: You have some choices.

Lowered-floor conversions with fold-out ramps can be done on the Honda Element, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Toyota Scion. The conversions are small and don’t fit as many people.

Due to them being built on a much smaller scale, the ones we have seen have not been built with the same level of quality of mini van conversion. Parts availability and repairs have been a problem, some of the companies that converted them are out of business and or have no support for “something they used to build”

For those who prefer to keep their standard car rather than purchasing a modified vehicle — and who can make the transfer from a wheelchair to a car seat — the answer may be as simple as a set of hand controls or a left foot gas pedal

Turning seats can be used in a wide range of vehicles, from sedans to SUVs and pickup trucks. A way to transport the wheelchair (like a rear lift) also is needed.

The rate at which your disease symptoms are worsening is one thing to consider when looking at turning seats — is it likely you’ll be able to transfer and ride in a car seat for many more years? Also, be sure to check with a mobility dealer to determine if your vehicle can accommodate a turning seat and a wheelchair lift.

Q: Why are modified vehicles so darned expensive?

A: A vehicle conversion can cost consumers upwards of $27,000 — and that’s just the cost for the conversion, not the vehicle. The total package can run between $45,000 and $80,000 — or more.

Besides the cost of the components, the reason it’s so pricey is that basically there is a lot of work involved to build a quality vehicle.

Modified vehicles from certified manufacturers and dealers must meet NHTSA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). That means all modified vehicles must be properly crash tested. (To learn more, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.)

It’s quite a labor-intensive process because of the customization. When you make structural modifications to a vehicle, you have to go through all of the crash testing, and you have to show that the vehicle is compliant again, and those tests are very expensive.

Most of the time lowering the floor in a minivan requires replacing or moving the fuel tank. Once the conversion is finished, the vehicle still has to meet the original requirements for evaporative emissions, in addition to NHTSA requirements.

Q: How can I pay less?

A: Consumers have some options.

Many consumers cut costs by purchasing pre-owned vehicles with new conversions, typically saving around $10,000 to $12,000.

The previous van owner already has absorbed the depreciation hit on a new van, which essentially occurs right after you’ve driven off the dealer’s lot.

Buying used can be beneficial for first-time buyers who want to try out a vehicle for a few years before buying new.

But if you plan to buy used, do some research and make sure the vehicle is structurally sound including the conversion. Ask for a vehicle history (CARFAX) report, and get the vehicle inspected by a mobility dealer to ensure it’s in good shape and was well taken care of.

Q: How do people manage to pay for it?

A: Many consumers used home equity loans to purchase a vehicle and adaptive equipment. But with home values decreasing.

Many dealers and manufacturers work with lending institutions that offer extended-term financing, including 10-year loans, allowing consumers to make lower, more affordable monthly payments. The downside is that consumers are locked into the vehicle for 10 years, and end up paying more in interest.

If you finance for 10 years, and you’re not going to keep the vehicle for that amount of time, you’re going to lose money when you try to sell or trade it because you haven’t paid off much of the balance.

When you buy a new vehicle, many car manufacturers offer mobility reimbursement programs (up to $1,000) to help offset the cost for the purchase and installation of adaptive equipment.

Winter Vehicle Safety Checklist

With the winter months here, it’s important to make sure your adaptive vehicle is in good shape to maximize protection and prevent breakdowns brought on by cold weather conditions. Here are some key items we recommend having checked on your wheelchair accessible vehicle to keep it running at its best and avoid the inconvenience of being stranded outside and emergency repairs.

Get Your Battery Tested
Cold weather can dramatically reduce the strength of your mobility vehicle’s battery. It’s important to have your battery tested to insure it’s fully charged. This is especially true if your battery is over two years old. And don’t forget to have your battery cables, posts and fasteners inspected. The cables should be in good shape and firmly connected to the battery.

Replace Your Wiper Blades
It’s recommended you replace your windshield wiper blades every six months. Ice and snow can be rough on the soft rubber, so we suggest replacing them with a heavier winter blade. Windshields get dirty quickly in the winter months from the sand, salt and spray off the road, so refill your washer fluid often for optimum visibility. Use a 50/50 mix of washer and water.

Check Your Tires
Make sure all of your tires including the spare are in good condition. Take a good look at the tread and consider replacing or rotating your tires if they are starting to wear out. Also check your tire pressure regularly. Cold weather causes tire pressure to drop and may result in the sensors indicating an unsafe driving pressure. Proper tire inflation makes for safer driving and better gas mileage.

Check Hoses, Clamps and Drive Belts
A belt or hose failure can cause serious engine, steering and electrical problems. Have your hoses checked for leaks or soft spots especially around the clamps. The thermal fluctuation between hot and cold can be even more severe in winter than summer months. Flush and refill your cooling system with a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. It’s also a good idea to make sure the heater and defroster are in good working condition.

Make Sure Your Mobility System Is Operating
Your conversion equipment is exposed to the elements as you enter and exit your handicap accessible vehicle and winter weather can compound those effects. Make sure your lift or ramp are lubricated and adjusted properly. Check the doors, mechanisms and ramp assembly for corrosion and rust. Snow, salt, sand and ice can easily cause problems.

Something to remember no matter what time of year is that having your oil changed regularly is probably the most important thing you can do to extend the life of your vehicle and keep it running properly.

Aging and Driving

As we all age, changes occur in physical functioning, vision, perception, and processing abilities that could make driving unsafe. While changes are inevitable, they occur at different rates in each individual, and age alone is not a good indicator of driving skills. Most often these changes occur slowly over a long period of time, and the individual is able to compensate for minor deficits. If several skill areas are affected, or there is a sudden change in abilities due to illness or disease, driving may become impaired. An evaluation is recommended if you, or those who drive with you, notice any of the following warning signs.

Warning Signs:

  • Doesn’t observe signs, signals, or other traffic
  • Needs help or instructions from passengers
  • Slow or poor decisions
  • Easily frustrated or confused
  • Frequently gets lost, even in familiar areas
  • Inappropriate driving speeds (too fast or too slow)
  • Poor road position, or wide turns
  • Accidents or near misses

A driver rehabilitation specialist can provide a comprehensive evaluation and make recommendations regarding driving.

This assessment should include:

  • A review of medical history and medications
  • Functional ability
  • Vision
  • Perception
  • Reaction time
  • Behind-the-wheel evaluation

If you or those that drive with you notice any of the above warning signs and need a driving evaluation. Give us a call at 508-697-6006 and we can, help you with with knowledge about medical conditions, and help with a comprehensive evaluation and determine your ability to drive.

  • Visual Perception
  • Functional Ability
  • Reaction Time
  • Behind-the-wheel evaluation

Holiday Travel Tips

Millions of people will take to the highways, skies, or rails to visit their loved ones over the upcoming holiday. With snow and sleet predicted for many parts of the country this weekend, here are some travel tips to help holiday travelers arrive safely at their destination:

Driving

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Fill your gas tank, check the air pressure in your tires and make sure you have windshield fluid.
  • Buckle up, slow down, don’t drink and drive.
  • Avoid distractions such as cell phones – don’t text and drive.
  • Make frequent stops on long trips. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and rest.
  • If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.

Flying and Riding Trains

  • It’s flu season. If you’ve been sick or been in contact with someone who is sick, consider postponing your trip. You could be contagious for a week before symptoms appear.
  • Remember that everything you touch has to be touched by someone else – luggage handlers, etc. Handle your own belongings as much as possible. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes with you. You can use them to wash your hands or wipe down surfaces such as armrests.
  • Bring your own pillows and blankets – they can act as a shield against the seat itself.
  • Avoid touching your face or eyes. If you have to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your sleeve.

Travel Tips

  • If you have diabetes or take medication using a syringe, get a signed letter from your doctor  explaining that your syringes are a medical necessity.
  • Know the generic names of your medications so you can replace them if they are lost or stolen. Your medication will have a different brand name in another country.
  • If you have any life-threatening allergies, wear a medical alert bracelet and bring an Epi-pen kit.
  • Travel light. Take only what you need and no more.
  • Make sure your children know their home address and telephone number. Show them where to go if you get separated, and review the procedure for dealing with strangers.
  • Leave the jewelry at home and reduce your risk of getting robbed. The same goes for expensive electronics such as iPods and digital cameras. Buy some disposable cameras to use.
  • Make photocopies of your passports, credit cards and other ID. Leave one copy with a relative at home, and keep another copy separate from your originals.
  • Travel with only one credit card. Bring a combination of traveller’s cheques and cash in small bills (American money is universally accepted). You should be able to use your debit card as long as the machine has the CIRRUS symbol. You will be charged for each transaction. Try to familiarize yourself with the local currency so your first transaction won’t be so confusing.
  • Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses as backup. You don’t want your vacation ruined because you can’t see anything.

Mobility Rebate Programs

Whether you’re looking for a wheelchair accessible minivan, a full-size van, or a lift/ramp for your wheelchair van, your financial investment is always going to be a major consideration. We understand the importance of the investment our customers make and we always strive to produce superior products and provide excellent service.

In today’s difficult economy, every cent counts when you’re making decisions about what you can and can’t afford to go without. Feeling that your mobility is restricted by financial constraints is discouraging, and we don’t like the idea of anyone having to face that challenge and find no answers or possibilities. That’s why we are extremely well informed and able to assist you in navigating your way through the myriad of grants, tax incentives, and rebate programs.

Every auto manufacturer offers a mobility rebate program of some type and they are definitely worth looking into. Here is some information about rebates for wheelchair vans and wheelchair lifts/ramps. For more personalized information, contact us and we will help guide you through the process of applying and receiving these rebates.

Toyota Mobility Dealer
The Toyota Mobility Program provides up to $1,000 in reimbursement for adaptive equipment (such as wheelchair lifts, assistive seating, driving aids, and more) installed on new Toyota vehicles within 12 months of the delivery date of the vehicle.

Dodge/Chrysler Automobility Dealer
Chrysler’s AutoMobility Program is similar to the program mentioned above, with reimbursements from $400-$1,000 available depending on the type of adaptive equipment installed..

Honda Mobility Dealer
The Honda Mobility Assistance Program offers reimbursement up to $1,000 for adaptive equipment installed on a new Honda!

Lexus Mobility
The Lexus Mobility Program supports the mobility needs of Lexus owners and/or family members with physical disabilities.

 If you have any questions about these programs, just give our us a call or visit us today. We’re always happy to help!

Steer Yourself In The Right Direction To Find The Perfect Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Purchasing or financing a wheelchair accessible vehicle takes time, money and a little bit of research. Because of the many available options when it comes to handicap vehicles, and the investment they require, knowing where to start your search is crucial and can shape the entire process. NMEDA member dealers work with individuals with disAbilities, as well as their caregivers and families, to ensure we steer you in the direction of the perfect vehicle for you. Here are a few useful tips and resources:

Go to the Pros
By going straight to a NMEDA members dealership, like ourselves, you’ll be sure that you’re getting the best possible care and attention, as well as professional service. All dealerships are required to adhere to strict quality standards under our Quality Assurance Program and, will provide you with the best solutions for your specific needs. Starting your search at a NMEDA dealer near you means you are sure you get behind the wheel of a handicap vehicle that’s right for you.

Establish Your Needs
Who will be the vehicle’s primary driver? Will you be driving from a wheelchair, transferring into the vehicle’s seat or transporting a loved one with a disability? Will you need to enter and exit the vehicle on your own or will help be nearby? Are you looking for a truck, car, minivan or a SUV? The answers to these questions can help determine what kind of adapted vehicle and equipment you need before diving into inventory listings.

Know Your Budget
We know that one of the most difficult parts of purchasing a new vehicle is making sure the cost is within your means. When it comes to finding a wheelchair accessible or adaptive vehicle, there are more options than you might realize. There are several state and government organizations in place to help get you the car you need.

Benefits of Owning an Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Safety
Safety is a universal concern for people with disAbilities and their caregivers. Many caregivers experience chronic back and joint pain from years of wheelchair lifts. And far too often there are stories of people fearful of loading and unloading their wheelchairs. Mobility vehicles are designed with a dedication to safety. Not only do ramp systems remove the liability, wear and tear and exhaustion of a lift, but brands like VMI adhere to the safety standards and qualifications of original equipment manufacturers like Honda, Toyota, Chrysler and Dodge.

A vehicle conversion from a company like VMI must maintain and provide the same safety ratings, post-conversion, as it did when the original model was created. That means collision safety and design is held to a very high standard. So there’s simply no reason to risk your personal safety or the livelihood of your passengers in an outdated vehicle.

Independence
If the daunting process of wheelchair lifts and transports kept you from leaving home in the past or the frustration of coordinating shuttles and third party transportation limits your lifestyle, look no further.

Mobility vehicles empower opportunity and independence. Frankly, when transportation is a possibility  rather than a limitation, the world gets a whole lot larger. Independent wheelchair users with reliable mobility vehicles hold the power to call the shots on their own life. They can drive where they need to, how they want to, when they want to. A mobility vehicle isn’t just a mechanism to take you from point A to B; A mobility vehicle is an entryway to possibility.

Increased Space and Flexibility
Most modern mobility vehicles feature side-entry and front door benefits which allow an array of seating arrangements and interior flexibility. With such added space, nearly any wheelchair — even power chairs — can fit in the cabin while still leaving room for the rest of the family.

Vehicles such as VMI’s Toyota Sienna Access360 have been engineered to promote a full range of motion and maneuverability for power chairs inside the vehicle, eliminating the need to hastily rearrange and remove seats for transports. Obstruction-free doorways and head clearance also pave the way for an enjoyable transition to and from the vehicle.

Simplicity and Ease-of-Use
Whether you are a caregiver or an independent wheelchair user, mobility vehicles have practical answers.

Through the addition of manual ramp systems and automated, in-floor ramp technology, transportation doesn’t have to remain a daily hassle.  Life often throws bigger dilemmas our way. Mobility vehicles make sure transportation isn’t one of those.

The Northstar E by VMI is a great example of a vehicle that was engineered with simplicity and ease-of-use at the forefront of its design. Caregivers can easily remove the vehicle’s ramp system without physical strain or contemplation. The process is intuitive and quick. Loading and unloading a van can be easily accomplished in a matter of minutes without sacrificing time or energy for the caregiver and loved one.

Mobility vehicles can even be outfitted with aftermarket additions such as remote start and keyless entry to  further simplify the transportation situation for independent wheelchair users and caregivers.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles: Q&A

Wheelchair
Accessible Vans

Rear entry Vs. Side entry
Buying New Vs. Buying Used
Manual Ramp Vs. Powered Ramp
Honda Vs. Dodge/Chrysler Vs. Toyota Vs. Ford
Certified Mobility Dealer Vs. Car Dealer Vs. Buying online
What do you need to know to get maximum benefit for minimum expense?

Good information is the key to saving money and getting the most value for the dollar when making a big-ticket purchase like a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

With that in mind, Seek out and find experts who truly care. Here are some answers to common questions about adaptive mobility equipment.

Can I just go to a car dealer down the street or do I need a certified mobility dealer?

Certified mobility dealers will help you buy the right vehicle and adaptive mobility equipment to meet your needs now and in the future. Future planning is especially important for people with muscle diseases that get progressively worse over time.

“Technology has improved tremendously over the years so there are numerous products available. Our goal is to help people find the right equipment that best fits their needs,” says Jim Sanders, president of Automotive Innovations based in Bridgewater, MA for over 25 years.

“Many times, consumers will go to a car dealer and buy a vehicle that can’t be modified or one that doesn’t fit their needs. And once you buy a vehicle, normally it’s very difficult to return.”

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), a nonprofit organization that provides consumer guidance and ensures quality and professionalism in the manufacturing and installation of mobility equipment. Members include mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers, driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals.

NMEDA member-dealers must follow the safety standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in addition to NMEDA’s own stringent guidelines.

Some dealers choose to enroll in NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP), which requires them to adhere to national motor vehicle safety standards, and use proven quality control practices to yield the highest level of performance and safety. Automotive Innovations was the First Mobility Dealer in Massachusetts to enroll and exceed the safety standards.

“The QAP dealer is audited by an outside engineering firm to verify that technicians have been trained and that the dealer has insurance and make sure the facility is ADA-compliant,” which means the QAP dealer is going above and beyond.

 

Can I get a better price if I buy online rather than from a dealer?

As with any online shopping, the warning “buyer beware” rings true. Buying online without trying out different vehicles with different conversions can be a costly mistake. Furthermore there are many grey market converted vans being offered as quality conversions.

Online, you are mostly shopping blind. Typically you will have no idea how the vehicle you need will work for you, even with specific recommendations from a driver evaluator or occupational therapist.

“You definitely shouldn’t buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle online, most online sellers are not qualified Mobility Dealers attempting to assess your needs, they’re just car dealers trying to sell you something.”

Some online dealers even have questionnaires on their websites to try and give you the idea your getting what you need. But, it will never replace being able to go to a local mobility dealership and try the vans out first hand.

A mobility vehicle is probably the second-largest purchase after a house. You should see it, try it out, and make sure it’s something that will work for you and your family. It’s horrible when people spend so much an a vehicle that will never work for them.

Every vehicle is a little bit different — such as in the dimensions, electrical and fuel systems, or suspension modifications. “If you go online and buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle based on the price, you’re not really looking at the total package.”

While buying online may be able to save you some money up front, it won’t over the long term.

In addition to you missing out on the important local service contact that a mobility equipment dealer provides, these online deals or grey market vans are worth much less when it comes time to trade it in.

 

What are some common mistakes people make when buying a modified vehicle?

Manufacturers and mobility dealers agree that one of the most common — and costly — mistakes is buying the vehicle first and then shopping for the conversion or adaptive mobility equipment. Not all vehicles can be converted.

For example, If you purchase a minivan from a traditional car dealership you can hit a roadblock if it doesn’t meet specific requirements to have the floor lowered for a rear- or side-entry conversion.

 

What are some good questions to ask a dealer or manufacturer?

Although buying a modified vehicle can be “a daunting experience,” says VMI’s Monique McGivney, it also can be “exciting and fun when you walk in armed with good questions and information.”

Prior to getting an assessment from a mobility dealer, evaluate your needs and try answering the following questions:

  • What vehicle will fit in my garage?
  • What kind of parking issues will I encounter where I live?
  • What is the size and weight of my wheelchair?
  • What is my seated height in the wheelchair?
  • How many people will ride in the vehicle?
  • In what part of the vehicle do I want to sit?
  • Will I be able to drive with hand controls?
  • Do I want a full-size van, minivan or alternative vehicle?
  • Do I want manual or power equipment?
  • Will an in-floor ramp or fold-out ramp meet my needs?
  • What is my budget, and do I have access to supplemental funding?

The first question most mobility dealers will ask you is: “What is your seated height in the wheelchair?” From there, the dealer can advise whether a full-size or minivan is appropriate, and what kind of conversion is needed.

Be sure to ask the dealer about the warranty and how the vehicle can be serviced.

Which Make and Model is the best for a handicapped accessible vehicle?

It honestly depends on what you fit into best and what options you prefer.

No two wheelchair accessible vehicles are the same. They vary in size, shape, color, features and design depending on the vehicle’s make and model. The only way to guarantee which is the best vehicle for you is if you come in and try them all out.

For example: The Honda has a little bit more room inside to maneuver a wheelchair than a Dodge, just as a Toyota has a bit more space than a Honda. A Ford offers more headroom than all of the above. But that all depends on the conversion and manufacturer.

Although color and features matter least to us, some find them just as important as fitting into the vehicle. Each Manufacturer offers their own color schemes, which you can look up on their websites. You can also search for what features you would prefer to have.

When you come into our Mobility Center we will help you find the vehicle that best fits you and your family’s needs. If you love the vehicle but not the color or features we can custom order a vehicle for you. That way we know you are buying a vehicle that best fits you and one that you are 100% happy with.

Which is better: rear entry or side entry?

The most important difference between a rear entry and side-entry conversion is that with a rear entry, wheelchair users can’t drive from their wheelchairs nor can they ride in the front passenger seat. From there, the choice comes down to personal preference and budget.

In recent years, because of quality, convenience and cost, there’s been a shift toward side entry vehicles. Rear entry is more of a frugal modification, involves a less of conversion process and is typically a little less expensive than a side-entry conversion.

Many people prefer side entry with an in-floor conversion for many safety reasons additionally  because they can park almost anywhere and not worry deploying the ramp out into traffic. Also, side entry allows the consumer to ride in the passengers front position along with maintain the rear seats in a minivan because the conversion doesn’t affect that area.

Rear entry is harder to get out of compared to a side-entry.

Anyway you look at it side-entry vehicles are more versatile. For example, side entry allows someone with a progressively worsening condition to use the vehicle for a longer period of time. A wheelchair user can start out driving from his or her chair, and then move to several other positions in the vehicle when no longer able to drive.

Side-entry conversions typically are a little more expensive than rear-entry because they’re more intrusive and labor intensive. For example, with a minivan, the entire floor and frame must be removed and replaced with a lowered floor and new frame.


What’s the difference between a fold-out ramp and in-floor ramp?

This decision comes down to safety, aesthetics, convenience and cost.

A fold-out ramp folds up into the vehicle, takes up valuable space in the passengers front area and must be deployed whenever the door is opened.

The in-floor ramp slides under the floor which makes riding in the vehicle safer for anyone seated in the passengers front position or the mid-ship position. There is no obstruction to the doorway so other passengers can enter and exit without deploying the ramp. In-floor ramps are currently only available as a side-entry minivan conversion, but they offer a manual (un-powered) option as well.

In-floor ramps in addition to being safer will generally provide more room in the vehicle because there’s nothing blocking the doorway. The ramp is “out of sight, out of mind” and may last longer because it doesn’t have to be deployed each time the side passenger door opens.

Fold-out ramps generally cost a little less than an in-floor ramp and consumers can select from manual and power versions; a power fold-out ramp still costs less than an in-floor ramp.

If an in-floor ramp system breaks down or the vehicle loses power, VMI’s in-floor ramp systems have a backup system (sure-deploy) that bypasses the vehicle’s battery.

A lot of people just feel more secure knowing there isn’t a fold-out ramp next to them in the event of a accident.

I use a wheelchair, but a van or minivan just isn’t “me.” Are they my only options?

You have other choices.

Lowered-floor conversions with fold-out ramps can be done on the Honda Element, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Toyota Scion. The conversions are small and don’t fit as many people.

Due to them being built on a much smaller scale, the ones we have seen have not been built with the same level of quality as the minivan conversion. Parts availability and repairs have been a problem, some of the companies that converted them are out of business and or have no support for “something they used to build”

If you prefer to keep your standard car rather than purchasing a modified vehicle — and can make the transfer from a wheelchair to a car seat — the answer may be as simple as a set of hand controls or a left foot gas pedal

Turning seats can be used in a wide range of vehicles, from sedans to SUVs and pickup trucks. A way to transport the wheelchair (like a rear lift) also is needed.

The rate at which your symptoms worsen is one thing to consider when looking at turning seats — is it likely you’ll be able to transfer and ride in a car seat for many more years? Also, be sure to check with a mobility dealer to determine if your vehicle can accommodate a turning seat and a wheelchair lift.

Why are modified vehicles so  expensive?

A vehicle conversion can cost consumers upwards of $27,000 —  and that’s just the cost for the conversion, not the vehicle. The total package can run between $45,000 and $80,000 — or more.

Besides the cost of the components, the reason it’s so pricey is that basically there is a lot of work involved to build a quality vehicle.

Modified vehicles from certified manufacturers and dealers must meet NHTSA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). That means all modified vehicles must be properly crash tested. (To learn more, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.)

It’s quite a labor-intensive process because of the customization. When you make structural modifications to a vehicle, you have to go through all of the crash testing, and you have to show that the vehicle is compliant again, and those tests are very expensive.

Most of the time lowering the floor in a minivan requires replacing or moving the fuel tank. Once the conversion is finished, the vehicle still has to meet the original requirements for evaporative emissions, in addition to NHTSA requirements.

How can I pay less?

You have  a few options.

You could cut costs by purchasing a pre-owned vehicle with a new conversion, typically saving you around $10,000 to $12,000.

The previous van owner already has absorbed the depreciation hit on a new van, which essentially occurs right after they’ve driven off the dealer’s lot.

Buying used can be beneficial for first-time buyers who want to try out a vehicle for a few years before buying new.

But if you plan to buy used, do some research and make sure the vehicle is structurally sound including the conversion. Ask for a vehicle history (CARFAX) report, and get the vehicle inspected by a mobility dealer to ensure it’s in good shape and was well taken care of.

Another tactic to help save you money is to ask your Certified Mobility Dealer about any rebates or financial aid options that could benefit you.

How do people manage to pay for it?

Many consumers used home equity loans to purchase a vehicle and adaptive equipment.

Many dealers and manufacturers work with lending institutions that offer extended-term financing, including 10-year loans, allowing consumers to make lower, more affordable monthly payments. The downside is that consumers are locked into the vehicle for 10 years, and end up paying more in interest.

If you finance for 10 years, and you’re not going to keep the vehicle for that amount of time, you’re going to lose money when you try to sell or trade it because you haven’t paid off much of the balance.

When you buy a new vehicle, many car manufacturers offer mobility reimbursement programs (up to $1,000) to help offset the cost for the purchase and installation of adaptive equipment.

Easy Ways to Adapt Sports for Kids with Disabilities

Step up to the plate, take the game-winning shot, leap across the finish line – the thrill of sports is nearly impossible to compare or match to that of another activity. For kids with a disAbility or other mobility limitations, sports can seem intimidating, as if they were a task too difficult to complete. With adaptive sports on the rise and more and more athletes with disAbilities making waves with their skill, kids of all ages and abilities should be encouraged to participate in these exciting activities. With a few modifications, even the most demanding sports can be completely accessible.

Basketball
Wider and lower hoops make this fast paced game a simpler competition. Use buckets, hula-hoops or even boxes can provide a larger targeted area, making it easier for kids to make those winning shots. Lower the “hoops” to a manageable height to boost your child’s confidence in their game.

Baseball
Tees aren’t just useful in golf; they are an excellent way to allow kids to take better aim when hitting a baseball. This sport, amongst others, can improve a child’s hand-eye coordination and focus, as well as instill a sense of teamwork in them.

Volleyball
Beach balls can quickly transform the sport of volleyball into a fully inclusive activity that’s sure to be a blast for everyone. The light beach balls are not only easier to hit, but they allow more time for players with disAbilities to react after the other team’s move. Balloons are another great alternative.

Whatever your sport of choice is, all it takes is a little ingenuity to adapt it to suit a child with a disAbility. Invite your kids’ friends over for backyard Olympics or stir up some friendly competition with your child – not only will sports allow kids to be more active, they’re a great way of improving social skills and abilities.

Ways To Adjust A Home For Someone With A DisAbility

There are many different types of disAbilities, therefore, when making changes to a home to accommodate someone with a disAbility, you first need to consider the individual’s specific needs, then the dimensions to follow based on disAbility access laws.

Here are some things to consider when adjusting the home to meet the needs of someone with a disAbility:

Counters and Tables
In the house you may have to adapt counters and tables. They may need to be lowered. They will also need extra open space underneath so that someone using a wheelchair can move closer to the counter or table. You should also consider making sure there is enough space available to maneuver a wheelchair around the house.

Appliances
Some other objects that can be useful in the kitchen for someone with a disAbility include an electric can opener, an electric jar opener and food processor for vegetable cutting. When buying a stove, make sure the knobs are in front so the person using a wheelchair can reach them and turn the oven on or the top burners on.

Toilets
In the bathroom you should consider having elevated toilet seats. Make sure you have bars by the toilet for someone who lacks balance to hold onto while sitting down or standing up. If you have someone that is using a wheelchair you need to have available a sliding board so you can transfer them from the wheelchair to the toilet.

Sinks
Extended levers on the faucet make it easy to turn on and off the water. The sink may need to be lowered to insure accessibility. You might also want to consider making sure that there is space underneath the sink so that there is room to maneuver a wheelchair.

Bath mats
If the bathroom has a bathtub, then make sure you have a floor length mat with a non-slip backing so it will adhere to the floor to prevent the disabled person from tripping over the mat.

Outlets
Arrange the furniture in the room so outlets are easily accessible.

Lighting
Make sure your lamps are touchable or react to sound so that the person with the disAbility can turn lights on and off when no one is around to help them.

Phones
Make sure the phone is cordless so the individual can carry it around with them and answer a call when the phone rings.

Kitchenware
You can buy silverware with Styrofoam that makes it easier for someone with a disAbility to hold the utensil and use it while eating.

Door handles
Use handles as opposed to knobs so the individual with a disAbility can open and close doors by themselves without assistance. When buying a refrigerator make sure the handle is either on the left or right hand side depending on the needs of the individual.

Doors and walkways
When adapting the home for a wheelchair make sure the doors open wide enough for the wheelchair to go through and halls are uncluttered.

For the deaf
When adapting the home to someone who is deaf make sure you will have a TTD — teletype device so the individual can make phone calls for themselves.

Doorbells
Connect the doorbell to the lights so they will flash when a phone call comes in or when someone rings the doorbell for someone who is deaf.

Showers
When adapting a shower you should consider installing a shower seat so that someone who is unable to stand can shower while sitting. If the person uses a wheelchair you will need a transfer board so they can transfer themselves to the seat without assistance. Another option for a person using a wheelchair is to have a shower that they can roll their wheelchair into. You may also want to consider having a shower head with a wand, that way it can be lowered so that it is more accessible for a person who needs to shower while seated.

These are just a few things to consider when adapting a home to meet the needs of someone with a disAbility. Above all, make sure to ask individuals with a disAbility what their needs are to adjust the home for them.

Adaptive Equipment for Those with Partial Disabilities

Some individuals with partial disabilities say they do not have a need for a fully wheelchair accessible van or truck and state they only need a bit of extra help. For those able to stand with or without assistance, turn, and walk a few steps, there are a number of simple, affordable solutions that can make the vehicle you already own more comfortable and accessible.

Turning Seating
Convenient and affordable, turning automotive seating can eliminate the need to twist and climb into vehicles. Seats can be adapted to automatically swivel over the door frame with the push of a button, allowing drivers or passengers to easily accommodate themselves without having to struggle to get inside. These solutions can be installed in nearly any vehicle, including tall trucks and SUVs. In these cases, the seat lowers to the driver or passenger’s preferred height, then lifts and turns back into the vehicle.

Wheelchair or Scooter Lifts/Carriers
For those who are able to transfer into a vehicle’s seats, whether they are automatic or not, a wheelchair or scooter lifts can stow their equipment in the trunk or roof of a car, back of a van or SUV, or bed of a pick-up truck. These systems can be fully automatic or manually powered, depending on the needs of the user.

Grab Bars and Assist Handles
Grab bars and assist handles can make it safer for those with partial disabilities to enter, exit and drive a vehicle. Extremely affordable and portable, these solutions can be incorporated into nearly any make or model in mere minutes.

Steering Aids
Modifications like low-effort steering and wheel attachments can make driving much easier for those with limited upper body mobility, arthritis, etc. From palm grips to tri-grip designs, spinner knobs and steering cuffs, there is an accessible option to meet every need.

Everyday Mobility Aids

Having a disability can make getting around and doing everyday activities difficult. Simple things like taking a shower, going to the store or even moving around your house can be a challenge for someone with limited mobility.

Getting a wheelchair or scooter is usually the first step, but there are several other mobility aids that either work in tandem or in addition to those to help you do the things you need to do. Once you have a wheelchair or scooter, there are upgrades you can make to your home to increase wheelchair accessibility there, but those don’t necessarily give you additional mobility. If you are looking to gain better mobility both inside and outside of your house, try any of the mobility equipment options below.

Transfer Board or Slider
While going out is often a major challenge, sometimes getting around within your house may be even more difficult. Getting onto a bed from a wheelchair, for example, requires strength, time and often another person. Luckily, there are transfer boards or sliders available to help facilitate the process. Wheelchair users place one end of the board under them on their wheelchair seat and slide across to the other end, which is set on their destination.

Bath Lifts
Bath lifts help those with limited leg mobility get into the bathtub. They attach to the tub and act as a seat for the wheelchair user to transfer to when they are ready to bathe. Once the user is sitting on the lift, it swings around and lowers within the tub. When the user is ready to get out, the seat can raise back up and out, preventing dangerous slipping. Other, simpler bath accessories include bath chairs, which act more as transfer seats that extend past the tub so the wheelchair user can safely slide across and under a shower head without using too much strength.

While living with a disability may make performing certain tasks more difficult, mobility equipment is available to help ease these challenges. Check online or with a mobility equipment dealer to find out where you can get these mobility aids.

Mobility Vehicles
If you use a wheelchair and don’t have a mobility vehicle, going anywhere can be a challenge. These are more expensive than many other types of mobility equipment, but there are plenty of options — and you may even be eligible for financial assistance. If you can’t afford to purchase a vehicle of your own, many dealers also offer rentals for much less.

Steering Aids
Whether you buy a mobility vehicle or simply transfer from your wheelchair to a car seat, you may need the ability to drive. There are different steering aids available to help you do so, depending on your abilities, including:

  • Steering Attachments: Extensions, such as knobs, gloves or balls, attach to the steering wheel to make it easy for those with limited arm function to turn the wheel with one hand or arm.
  • Foot Controls: Attachments on the ground give those with limited use of their hands the ability to steer and control the vehicle with their feet.
  • Loosened Steering: Drivers without adequate upper body strength can turn the wheel without requiring much effort with a simple steering modification.
  • Automatic Controls: A driver with limited leg mobility can steer, accelerate and brake with their hands using one piece of equipment that can be mounted in the driver’s area.

Teens with Disabilities: Learning to Drive A Handicap Accessible Vehicle

The majority of teenage kids will assert that learning to drive not only makes for an exciting experience but also marks a very important moment in life – moving a step closer towards achieving independence. Teens living with a disability are not exempt from this feeling. When it’s time to teach your child to drive, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure your child’s safety and the safety of others on the road.

Regardless of your age, preparedness is essential when it comes to driving. For those living with disabilities, the process of how you prepare can be slightly different, but it is certainly equally as important. Teens and new drivers with disabilities must complete a drivers’ assessment prior to beginning lessons in order to determine what sort of adaptive equipment or techniques he or she must use while driving. Steering aids, hand controls, or ramps/lifts may be necessary for your teen to be ready to get behind the wheel and recommendations will be made by the assessment administrator (most often by a certified driver rehabilitation specialist) after a proper exam.

While some teens will require little additional equipment in order to operate a vehicle, others may need more thorough vehicle conversions. If purchasing a new handicap accessible vehicle is not in your budget, there are used options available to suit your child’s needs, as well as rentals and loaners made available by some driving schools.

Qualified driving specialists will be able to relay information on your state’s driving laws for people with disabilities, how to operate the vehicle, as well as how to get in and out of the car without additional assistance, should they need to do so.

Throughout this journey towards adulthood, it’s vital that you remain your teen’s number one fan. A supporting and encouraging environment can dramatically improve your child’s outlook on taking on the road, raising their self-confidence and making them an overall better driver. Remember, learning how to drive takes time, but with your support, the expertise of driving coaches and the accessibility of a modified vehicle, your teen will be on his or her way to being a licensed driver!

Adaptive Q&A

With such a wide variety of adaptive vehicle equipment available, selecting the appropriate features or modifications can become big task. In an effort to facilitate this process, here are the responses to some of the most frequently asked mobility equipment questions.

Are ramps difficult to operate?
Most vans equipped with side-entry mobility equipment are fully automatic. The seamless loading and unloading process can be as simple as pushing a button. Vans can be converted to automatically open their doors, lower to the curb and deploy or stow a ramp without the driver or passengers needing to work with any equipment. Manual options are also available, however these are also very easy to use. Built with springs that carry most of the ramp’s weight, manual ramp options are also quick, safe and simple to use solutions.

Can I drive from my wheelchair?
In many cases, it is possible for drivers with disabilities and the need for a wheelchair to avoid transferring by properly securing their chair and themselves within the vehicle. With the use of both a wheelchair tie-down system and occupant restraints, driving from a wheelchair can be a safe and convenient option.

Can I drive from my scooter?
Operating or riding a vehicle from scooter is not recommended. In order to remain safe while traveling, passengers or drivers in scooters should always transfer into vehicle seating. Turning or swivel seats can make the transfer process easier and less demanding on those with limited mobility or access to caregiver assistance. Scooters should also be properly secured with a tie-down system to prevent movement in case of a sudden stop or turn.

Side entry vs. rear entry – which is best for me?
There are a few things to consider when deciding between a side entry and a rear entry vehicle. Passengers who are not going to be driving the vehicle typically use rear entry vehicles. Side entry vehicles work well for drivers and co-pilots getting in to the front of the vehicle, as well as passengers. Depending on the parking conditions of your regularly visited establishments, your vehicle’s entry points may need to be redefined. If you often need to parallel park or live in a region that experiences recurring inclement weather, a side-entry vehicle will prove to be a better option for your needs. These are only a few of the deciding factors when it comes to choosing between side and rear-entry.

Can someone else drive my vehicle if I install hand controls?
In most cases, both able-bodied drivers and those with disabilities can comfortably operate vehicles adapted with hand controls. Most hand controls do not interfere with the way a manufacturer intended the vehicle to be driven.

How to adapt your new or pre-owned vehicle to meet your needs after a stroke

Driving after a stroke is often a major concern for survivor’s and their loved ones. It prompts many questions about ability, safety and vehicle options. Often times, the physical disadvantages that result from stroke can compromise a survivor’s ability to operate their vehicle.

Advances in the vehicle modification industry have introduced new driving controls that are giving independence back to stroke survivors that want to drive. They allow them to get back behind the wheel in their own vehicle to go where they want to go, when they want to go.

Innovative vehicle modifications such as hand controls, left-foot accelerators, lifts and mobility seating can transform your personal vehicle into a vehicle that give you more freedom.

Mobility equipment dealers strive to remain at the forefront of the vehicle modification industry by providing cutting-edge technology and a full selection of adaptable equipment for your pre-owned vehicle.

Hand Controls For Stroke Survivors with Limited Use of their Feet
Automotive Innovations is New England’s  #1 hand control installation facility  manufacturer of hand controls and driving aids for the disabled. Hand control systems are specifically designed to give drivers the benefit of controlling a vehicle with both hands on the wheel making for a safer, smoother driving experience.

Unlike other manual and or servo hand control installers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, we have the ability to offer a custom fitment to your vehicle and you, for everything from a Fiat 500 to a Lamborghini Aventador no one else has the master craftsman, machining equipment and facility capable of performing a custom installation the way we can.

Push Rock hand controls have a handle in a vertical position; accelerating by rocking back in an arching motion using the fingers and/or the palm. There are several additional options to choose from:

  • Spinner knob: Attached to the steering wheel to allow controlled steering with use of one hand.
  • Single Pin: As an alternative to the spinner knob, this hand control was designed for clients that cannot open their hand fully.
  • Tri Pin: Great for an independent driver. It requires minimal gripping strength and/or reduced wrist stability.
  • V-Grip: This attachment is intended for drivers with moderate gripping strength.
  • Steering Wheel Extension: This device is individually customizable, so you can pick a diameter and height that best suits your needs. The easily removable device is completely compatible with any OEM steering wheel.

Servo electronic mobility controls offers driving control products that are safe and provide piece of mind every time you are on the road.

  • Lever  A gas/brake input with adjustable levels of force and travel from the full gas to the full brake position. It is designed for customers that have a wider range of motion and a larger effort level.
  • One handed steering and gas brake  A input that you can steer that is available in a two-axis configuration for gas/brake and steering It has a adjustable range of motion and very low levels  of force to operate. It is designed and custom build for each customers specific range of motion and abilities.
  • Wheel  A steering input that can be adjusted to less than 2 oz of force at the proper orthotic position of 3 3/8” from center. It is also able to be adaptable for customers that have a wider range of motion.

Left-foot Accelerator
Automotive Innovations offers the best left foot gas pedals with unmatched installations.  Left-foot accelerator are designed to offer a left foot gas pedal which acts exactly like your vehicle’s existing gas pedal. Our Left foot gas pedals are removable with features like a quick-release base so the entire assembly can be removed and re-installed quickly and easily.

Lifts for Stroke Survivors that use Wheelchairs or Walkers
Automotive Innovations can offer more solutions for the transportation of your mobility device than any other dealership in New England.

” Its worth the drive, I live in the western part of Massachusetts and will never trust my van with anyone other than Automotive Innovations. They have been taking care of me and my vans since 1996. When a company comes through for you time and time again whats that worth? For me it’s priceless and the drive is irrelevant.”

Chris P Whately, MA

  • Scooter & Wheelchair Lifts while are not always practical they do work in all types of vehicles. These fold-down wheelchair and scooter lifts make lifting and storing your manual folding wheelchair or scooter possible.

Mobility Seating
The mobility transfer seat is an innovative system for lower vehicles which can provide easer  access to an automotive seat. The seat power rotates out over the doorsill, bridging the gap for a safe transfer onto the seat. These seats are not always practical for every type of vehicle

Our goal is to match your lifestyle and your vehicle with equipment that will deliver independence.

Finding a Dealer That’s Up to Standards

Hand controls, left-foot accelerator, lifts and mobility seating offers opportunities for the stroke survivor to regain their mobility freedom in their pre-owned vehicle. You have just found the best mobility dealer in all of New England that offers a ever evolving selection of adaptable equipment.

It is important to select a reputable dealer to provide the adaptable equipment and installation for your pre-owned vehicle.

  1. Are they members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has vehicle conversion standards?
  2. Are they Quality Assurance Program (QAP) certified?
  3. Do they provide ongoing service and maintenance?
  4. Do they provide 24/7 emergency service?
  5. Do they provide training on the adaptable equipment?
  6. Can the equipment be transferred to a new vehicle in the future?

Adapting pre-owned vehicles provides stroke survivors with mobility freedom in the vehicle they love and are familiar with.

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The used market for wheelchair accessible vehicles has grown in the past few years. This growing popularity seems to suggest that this solution works. In some cases, it does; however, buying a used wheelchair accessible vehicle is not like buying a new car. If you are are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, remember these key points.

  • It must meet your mobility needs
    All wheelchair accessible vehicles are different. Ramp width, door clearance, and interior height will vary between vehicles which will affect whether or not the vehicle will work for your needs. Previously installed aftermarket additions, such as hand controls and securment devices, will have to be removed or replaced considering they were put in for the previous owner. Before you you start your search you should know your exact needs. Be aware that this may narrow your options significantly.
  • Getting your current vehicle fitted with a ramp or lift
    It’s possible to convert a minivan you already own and make it accessible, as long as it meets the requirements set by your mobility dealer. Before doing so, you will need to know which accessible ramp or lift style works best for you and your family.
  • Buying online
    eBay Motors and Craigslist are increasingly popular options for buying vehicles online. An increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles are listed on these two sites. While the prices may be tempting, this option can be risky if it’s not being sold by a trusted resource (such as a Mobility Center). Ramps are complex pieces of machinery. Without a specially trained mechanic looking it over, it can be very hard to know if a person is selling a good vehicle. We do not recommend this option because it can lead to numerous issues.
  • Used vehicles from a dealership
    While mobility dealers are specifically trained to help you meet all your mobility needs, most still operate like conventional dealers. Customers sometimes trade-in their old vehicles for credit towards a new vehicle, leaving the dealership with a used vehicle. While not every dealership has a used vehicle inventory, some have good options to work with.

Government Grants for People with Disabilities

Find government grants and financing for handicap vehicles for people with disabilities nationwide. Money can be located with a little patience and a lot of research through various government programs. We’ve compiled a list of the most well-known government grant programs to assist your search for help funding a wheelchair van.When paying for a handicap van, you can use money from government grant programs for people with disabilities, as well other funding resources like disability grants, loans, fundraiser money, foundation endorsements, or any other funding source. We’ll work with your chosen foundations or any government grant program, after they verify financial assistance, to get you on the road!

To learn more about applying for wheelchair van grant funding to buy a handicap van or convert a pre-owned minivan, read “How to Apply for a Grant for Wheelchair Vans, Mobility Equipment, or Minivan Conversions.”

Government Wheelchair Van Financing Resources
Fund your wheelchair van with these government grant programs provided by the U.S. government and locally in your state.

Administration for Children & Families
On this website, new funding opportunities are displayed as they become available.

Grants.gov
The U.S. government resource listing federal grants available.

Medicaid
Sometimes provides assistance when children or other special circumstances are involved.

Medicaid/Department of Human Services (DHS)
Children are screened as part of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program of Medicaid. Under Medicaid’s “rehabilitative services,” people often receive handicap van or lift funding to achieve their “best possible functional levels.”

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
Located within each state’s Department of Human Services (per state), helps you prepare for work, train for a job, find a job, or keep a job as early as high school. Services are prioritized according to the severity of the disability.

Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
Check your state’s branch for grant availability.

Division of Developmental Services (DDS)
Check your state’s branch for grants.Those with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration can contact the agency about its Plan to Achieve Self Support(PASS). A PASS plan sets aside income to buy equipment or services in a way that keeps income, as well as resources, below the SSI eligibility cut-off so there are no reductions in benefits. The emphasis is on whether the handicap van or equipment will help the SSI recipient become vocationally self-sufficient. It’s important for an individual to contact and receive the approval of Social Security before setting up a PASS plan. Once money has been set aside for a PASS, spending it on something else can result in the loss of SSI benefits.Please note: You can use multiple sources of funding that include grants, loans, and other funding assistance. If you’re unable to find government grants for people with disabilities or need to acquire more money to help pay for your wheelchair van and/or mobility needs, check out more opportunities at our mobility finance page.

Putting Amputees Back in the Driver’s Seat

For some people, an automobile is a necessity not a luxury.

To have a full life in America requires mobility -not just the ability to walk or run, but the ability to travel greater distances with more convenience and flexibility than public transportation provides.

For many lower-limb amputees, however, the lack of feet makes driving impossible in a conventionally equipped vehicle. Hand controls along with left foot gas pedals provide the solution. They make it possible for lower-limb amputees and people with other disabilities to enjoy the prosperity and independence that comes with vehicle ownership and use.

Different types of hand controls
Basic hand controls usually consist of a lever attached to a bracket and mounted under the steering column on cars equipped with automatic transmissions. The lever is moved to operate throttle and brakes. Usually the left hand operates the control, allowing the right hand to steer and operate the vehicle’s accessories. The three most common types of hand controls are push/rock, push/twist, right angle pull, and push/pull.

The push rock and push twist hand control works by twisting the handle to apply the gas and pushing it to apply the brakes. The right angle pull hand control works by moving the lever down towards the driver’s lap for acceleration. To apply the brakes, the driver pushes the handle forward towards the front of the car. The push/pull hand control works by pulling on the handle to apply the gas, and pushing for the brakes. Most hand controls, except for a very few, apply the brakes by pushing.

Most hand controls are hand-powered, using linkages or cables to operate the gas and brakes. Some models are power-assisted to make it easier on the hand and arm. Cars are designed for the driver’s foot to operate the gas and brake, so the force required to operate the hand control can be tiring to the hand during long drives. Power-assist options for hand controls range from very complex devices such as an electric joystick, to relatively simple ones that use vacuum power like power brakes. Most hand controls are dual-action devices that permit the simultaneous application of throttle and brake. Dual-action controls are helpful when the car is stopped on a steep hill or when making tight maneuvers on steep grades. The throttle can be applied a little before releasing the brake to prevent the car from coasting backward before moving forward. While most users prefer dual-action, some prefer single-action units because they eliminate the chance of accidentally applying the throttle during braking.

Which is best for you?
The best choice of hand controls for a person depends on a number of factors, such as the car’s layout, expected driving conditions, and the driver’s size, disability, and preference.

Push/twist
Push/twist hand controls are a good choice if either a large driver, a small car, or both, limit space. Economical use of space is achieved because the lever only needs to be moved to apply the brake. Throttle control is achieved by twisting the grip in the same manner as operating a motorcycle.

Push/twist controls provide a precise, sporty feel. By necessity, push/twist hand controls are often power-assisted. Without power-assistance, the twisting motion tends to feel stiff, and the hand tires. With a good quality power-assisted twist control, very little effort is required to maintain a throttle setting; simply resting the hand on the handle should provide enough force. This results in less fatigue on long drives.

Push/twist controls are good in tight turns and on rough roads. Throttle surges, which can be experienced with a push/pull or right angle pull device, as the driver and his or her arm bumps, sways, leans, or lurches going through curves and over bumps tend not to occur with a push/twist. Most push/twist controls are dual-action units.

These controls are not recommended for people with grip problems or those with amputated fingers or hands. Good left-hand dexterity is required for safe driving with push/ twist controls.

Right angle pull
Right angle pull controls are the most widely used form of hand control. They are relatively inexpensive and, usually, easy to install and adjust. Operation is simple and intuitive for these strictly mechanical units.

Space, however, can be a problem. Throttle application requires that the lever be moved down toward the driver’s lap. If the driver is large or the car is small, a push/twist or even a push/pull control may be more suitable. Because the lever is connected to the gas pedal with mechanical linkages, the underside of the dashboard will often require trimming.

For those missing fingers, hands, or with reduced grip strength, various handles, wrist straps, grips, etc., can be adapted for the right angle pull control. Specialized handles can be configured for use with a prosthesis. Right angle pull controls are usually dual-action, but also can be single-action.

Push/pull
Push/pull hand controls are by definition single-action. Since the lever is pulled for gas and pushed for brakes, the gas and brakes can never be operated at the same time.

This is the easiest hand control to learn to use. Senior citizens like the push/pull because there is no confusion when learning, after using the foot pedals all their lives. Power-assisted and non-power-assisted models are available. The driver’s hand can rest directly on the lever without causing the throttle to surge.

As with the right angle pull control, different handles can be adapted to the driver to permit safe and easy operation. Power-assisted push/pull hand controls equipped with handle adaptations are recommended for people with limited arm strength and poor manual dexterity.

Some other factors to consider
When shopping for hand controls, aesthetics is also a factor to consider. Car owners can be surprised to find that a section of the dashboard was cut away during the installation process. Most hand controls are mounted under the dash with a support extending into the driver space under the steering column where the lever is connected. A panel under the dashboard is removed during installation. If the hand control’s design and the dashboard layout permit, the panel can be returned allowing the mounting bracket to be hidden. Sometimes, however, the hand control’s hardware protrudes into the passenger space, and the panel cannot be reinstalled without cutting a window in it. Each installation varies with the model of automobile and the particular hand-control unit. Check with your dealer about what you can expect to see when you get your car back.

Many of us share cars with other family members. It is important that the pedals can still be used with the hand control installed and that there are as few impediments to using them as possible. Most good controls provide room for a pedal-pushing driver. Ask the installer what to expect.

Driving should be fun. Poorly designed hand controls, or a badly performed installation, can cause the driver to be distracted or preoccupied with the control, lead to frustration, and reduce safety. Good hand controls, professionally installed, will allow enjoyable, safe driving.

Installation
No matter what type of hand controls you use, you are making a significant modification to your vehicle. It is, therefore, important to have a trained and qualified person perform the installation.

The installer should cut a minimum amount of the dashboard. The handle should be located in a comfortable position so that the driver can hold on to the hand control and hook a thumb over the steering wheel. This position helps to stabilize the steering wheel and the throttle. The whole assembly should feel solid and sturdy. If the installation is done properly using a high-quality control, driving will be easy and fun.

Everyone is different, and each person is a special case. If you are uncertain about your condition and your abilities, consult a Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS). A CDRS knows about different disabilities and can advise you about the best solution to your driving needs. Contact a CDRS through your rehabilitation facility or through your local amputee support group.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or already drive with hand controls, it is good to know what is out there and what to look for. High-quality hand controls are available, as are skilled mobility technicians who understand the quality and safety issues involved with their installation.

Spend a few extra dollars to purchase a high-quality product and have it professionally installed. You already have made a significant investment in your vehicle. A quality set of hand controls will surely enhance your driving experience and, above all, your safety.

Hints & Tips For Selling your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Online

Photos

Exterior
Considering you are usually only offered to post 8 photos it’s a good idea is to allocate at least 3 to the exterior of your wheelchair accessible vehicle. You should take these pictures from different angles that reveal the handicap van in its best light. For example you should take one of the front and rear of the vehicle whether it is a full front/rear shot or ¾ front/rrear and side shot. For a third picture you can take a full side shot,  or whatever angles you believe are best.

Interior
A good interior shot that shows the condition of the dash board and front seats as a minimum is highly recommended. If the wheelchair van has a clean, well presented interior the buyer needs to see it, as this is an area where wear and tear will be evident on the handicap van if not looked after. You should also capture the space available with the type of wheelchair ramp/lift.

Engine bay
Most buyers are going to want to see whats under the hood at some stage – pre-empting this and providing a good clean shot of a good clean engine is an excellent way to instil confidence in the buyer that the handicap van is well looked after. Best done after steam cleaning or degreasing and washing of the engine bay.

Trunk
The trunk or cargo area of the handicap van is other potential high wear area which if in good condition is worth showing to buyers.

Accessories 
If the handicap van is fitted with after-market or factory accessories that will enhance the handicap van in the eyes of the buyer then ensure these are obvious in the exterior and interior photos. It may be a good idea to have a close up shot of a certain handicap accessible modification such lowered floors and handicap ramps.

Pre-existing damage/scratches 
If your handicap van has dents or scratches on the body work it is probably a good idea to show them in photos as they will then have a good idea of the vehicles condition. This may turn some buyers off, but those who do contact you will be more likely to follow through with the purchase as they have already factored this in to their offer.

Text
There is no limit to the amount of text you can include with your advert so be sure to list all relevant modifications and extras so as to fully inform buyers as to all the features, options and modifications. – don’t hold back – it doesn’t cost any more to be comprehensive!

Advertising using the direct URL
The direct URL is the key to getting buyers to see your handicap van online, the basic idea is to include it everywhere you advertise your wheelchair van, so that buyers who ready your classified adverts can then log on to the Internet and see your photos and extra details.

Examples of where to advertise your Handicap Vans URL include:

  • Local newspapers
  • Where you place other online classifieds that don’t include photos or as much detail
  • trader type magazines

Virus or scam alert

Buyer / Seller Scams
We’ve been alerted to a scam which operates in the following way: An overseas buyer offers to buy your car. They will want to send you a check for an amount in excess of the purchase price of your car and will ask you to send the change back to them or to pay the change to a local shipping agent. There are several variations on the theme. If you get an offer like this from overseas, we recommend that you be alert to a possible scam.

Another scam operates as follows: Typically a car/bike/boat, etc will be offered for sale at a very low price. The seller will say that the item is located overseas or in a location that makes it difficult to inspect the item. The seller will ask you to send them a deposit or pay for the item before they will arrange to send it to you. If you get an offer like this, we recommend that you be alert to a possible scam.

We wish you the best of luck in advertising your handicap van and if you need any help keep in mind we sell on consignment and are always here to help!

Mobility Rebate Programs

Whether you’re looking for a wheelchair accessible minivan, a full-size van, or a lift/ramp for your wheelchair van, your financial investment is always going to be a major consideration. We understand the importance of the investment our customers make and we always strive to produce superior products and provide excellent service.

In today’s difficult economy, every cent counts when you’re making decisions about what you can and can’t afford to go without. Feeling that your mobility is restricted by financial constraints is discouraging, and we don’t like the idea of anyone having to face that challenge and find no answers or possibilities. That’s why we are extremely well informed and able to assist you in navigating your way through the myriad of grants, tax incentives, and rebate programs.

Every auto manufacturer offers a mobility rebate program of some type and they are definitely worth looking into. Here is some information about rebates for wheelchair vans and wheelchair lifts/ramps. For more personalized information, contact us and we will help guide you through the process of applying and receiving these rebates.

Toyota Mobility Dealer
The Toyota Mobility Program provides up to $1,000 in reimbursement for adaptive equipment (such as wheelchair lifts, assistive seating, driving aids, and more) installed on new Toyota vehicles within 12 months of the delivery date of the vehicle.

Dodge/Chrysler Automobility Dealer
Chrysler’s AutoMobility Program is similar to the program mentioned above, with reimbursements from $400-$1,000 available depending on the type of adaptive equipment installed..

Honda Mobility Dealer
The Honda Mobility Assistance Program offers reimbursement up to $1,000 for adaptive equipment installed on a new Honda!

Lexus Mobility
The Lexus Mobility Program supports the mobility needs of Lexus owners and/or family members with physical disabilities.

 If you have any questions about these programs, just give our us a call or visit us today. We’re always happy to help!

Adaptive Mobility Equipment Financing Options

Adaptive equipment describes an installed device, in addition to a structural modification, that is necessary for a person with a permanent physical disability to drive or be transported in a vehicle.

Some equipment not thought of as typical adaptive equipment, or equipment which is not available from the factory, that serves a need to operate or ride in a vehicle for persons with disabilities such as but not limited to: assist handles, keyless entry, keyless ignition switch, lumbar support, headrest adjustment, pedal extensions power seats, remote liftgate opener, running boards, seat belt extenders, seat modifications, and special mirrors may be eligible for reimbursement and require additional documentation. You will be notified if additional documentation is needed such as a letter or prescription clearly describing the permanent physical disability requiring this equipment, prepared by a licensed or certified medical professional.

Factory installed options such as air conditioning, running boards, lumbar seats and power windows are not considered eligible under the terms of the program.

Driving is a privilege for people stroke survivors with limited mobility; it provides a sense of stability in their lives so they can regain their independence. They love the flexibility their adaptive mobility equipment provides, but they often face exorbitant costs when it comes to financing the purchase of the equipment.

“The number one reason people with disabilities don’t have access to adequate transportation is because they cannot afford it.” The good news is that funding assistance to purchase adaptive equipment is becoming increasingly available.

Sources of funding determine a person’s “buying power.” Unlike the financing options provided by original equipment manufacturers, Mobility Equipment Dealers, such as such as ourselves, have access to financing options specifically for adaptive equipment purchases; they offer options and solutions for the customer.

Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers grants enabling 100% service related disabled veterans to purchase a new or used modified vehicle and adaptive equipment. Automobile grants are available once in the service member’s lifetime and adaptive equipment grants are available for special equipment that may used more than once.  For more information, call 1-800-827-1000 or read the VA’s “Automobile and Special Adaptive Equipment Grants” fact sheet.

State Programs

  • State Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab) Agencies may be able to assist with the costs associated with purchasing an adaptive vehicle (or adding adaptive equipment to an existing one) if the vehicle is necessary in order for a person to get to and from work.
  • State Assistive Technology Loan Programs may also be able to provide assistance to help pay for modifications to the vehicle.
  • Center for Independent Living (CIL) can provide additional information on programs that may be available in your state.

Government Programs

  • Medicaid: Medicaid is a jointly administered federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. Medicaid benefits differ by state and are approved on a case-by-case basis when a request for funding is presented through a prior approval.
  • Medicare: Medicare is a federal program and in some instances they will pay for adaptive equipment following a specialty evaluation performed by a qualified practitioner. For more information, call 1-800-633-4227.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI offers a Plan to Achieve Self-Support program, or PASS, which helps those with disabilities pay for items or services needed to achieve a specific employment goal – to ultimately return to work.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS): Often sales-tax exemptions on equipment purchases and other out-of-pocket costs can qualify for tax deductions as medical expenses. Contact a tax adviser or get literature from the IRS that outlines the tax code for medical equipment by calling 1-800-829-1040 and asking for publications with extensions 3966, 907 and 502.

Workman’s Compensation:
Your insurance or workman’s compensation policies may also pay for vehicle adaptation. Check with your HR department or workman’s comp. organization for more information.

Fundraisers, Charitable Organizations/Churches
These may not be for everyone, but they can be effective and many people have successfully raised the money to pay for a wheelchair accessible vehicle and adaptive equipment using these options.

Automakers Rebate Programs
Many automobile makers are providing people with disabilities a wide range of rebates and incentive programs to cover adaptive equipment installation. Below is an overview of some programs offering rebates or reimbursements for adaptive mobility equipment.

  • Ford Motor Company: The Ford Mobility Motoring adaptive equipment reimbursement offers up to $1,000 off for a vehicle modification. You may also qualify for up to $200 for alert hearing devices, lumbar support, or running boards installed on any new Ford or Lincoln vehicle purchased or leased from a U.S. Ford or Lincoln dealer during the program period.
  • Daimler Chrysler Corporation: Once you have a 2010-2013 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle that fits your transportation needs, contact a reputable and qualified adaptive equipment installer to ensure that it can be adapted to meet your needs.
  • General Motors Company Reimbursement Program:  New vehicle purchasers/lessees who install eligible adaptive mobility equipment on their new Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicles can receive up to a $1,000 reimbursement for the cost of the equipment.
  • Toyota: The Toyota Mobility Assistance Program provides cash reimbursement of up to $1,000 of the cost of any aftermarket adaptive equipment or conversion, for drivers and/or passengers, when installed on any eligible purchased or leased new Toyota vehicle within 12 months of vehicle purchase or lease.

The decision to purchase adaptive mobility equipment stems from a need for mobility freedom for people with disabilities, including stroke survivors. The purchase process begins with selecting a reputable dealer to provide the adaptive equipment and installation, locating options to finance the purchase, and ends with insuring the adaptive equipment.

Make sure the after-market mobility modifications are professionally installed by a NMEDA mobility dealer. Once the adaptive mobility equipment is financed and installed, notify your insurance agent with a full disclosure of all adaptive mobility equipment installed in the vehicle.

Make sure your auto insurance company provides coverage for the conversion and adaptive equipment. Make sure you request coverage for “special” equipment, not just “handicapped” equipment.

  • “Handicapped equipment” covers only basic equipment such as the ramp or lift, not the lowered floor, kneeling system, lockdown system or other adaptive equipment.
  • “Special equipment” covers the conversion in its entirety. Be sure and send your insurance company an itemized list of every modification (which you can get from the mobility dealership that performed the conversion).

VMi New England Mobility Center is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a wheelchair accessible car, truck or van, please contact us at 508-697-6006  info@newenglandwheelchairvan.com

Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists

Getting on the road to independence can be a long and twisting journey, but there are individuals, businesses and organizations ready, willing and able to help make it a smooth ride. Working with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) and a Mobility Dealer is one of the first and most important steps to take when purchasing mobility equipment or a new or used handicap accessible vehicle. Below are just some of the ways these specialists can make it easier for you to get behind the wheel.

Assessing Your Needs
Before taking to the road, you must complete a driving evaluation to determine your abilities as a driver. A CDRS-conducted evaluation will not only asses your driving skills as a driver with a disability, but will also match you with the most appropriate and best solutions for your mobility needs.

Safety First
By ensuring your mobility needs are met, a driving evaluation from a CDRS can help ensure you’ll be safer while on the road. These comprehensively trained specialists work with Mobility Dealers that are extremely knowledgeable about mobility solutions, provide individual, in-person evaluations and with their support and guidance, you can feel confident knowing that your time behind the wheel will be as secure as possible.

Adapted Driving Programs
A number of organizations also offer Adapted Driving Programs designed to help drivers with disabilities feel confident behind the wheel. Under the guidance of a CDRS, drivers can get hands-on training on how to stay safe and in control on the road. Some programs, such as senior safety courses, even help individuals find the best driving routes to common destinations and assist in learning rules and regulations affecting their driving environments.

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The used market for wheelchair accessible vehicles has grown in the past few years. This growing popularity seems to suggest that this solution works. In some cases, it does; however, buying a used wheelchair accessible vehicle is not like buying a new car. If you are are interested in purchasing a used vehicle, remember these key points.

  • It must meet your mobility needs
    All wheelchair accessible vehicles are different. Ramp width, door clearance, and interior height will vary between vehicles which will affect whether or not the vehicle will work for your needs. Previously installed aftermarket additions, such as hand controls and securment devices, will have to be removed or replaced considering they were put in for the previous owner. Before you you start your search you should know your exact needs. Be aware that this may narrow your options significantly.
  • Getting your current vehicle fitted with a ramp or lift
    It’s possible to convert a minivan you already own and make it accessible, as long as it meets the requirements set by your mobility dealer. Before doing so, you will need to know which accessible ramp or lift style works best for you and your family.
  • Buying online
    eBay Motors and Craigslist are increasingly popular options for buying vehicles online. An increasing number of wheelchair accessible vehicles are listed on these two sites. While the prices may be tempting, this option can be risky if it’s not being sold by a trusted resource (such as a Mobility Center). Ramps are complex pieces of machinery. Without a specially trained mechanic looking it over, it can be very hard to know if a person is selling a good vehicle. We do not recommend this option because it can lead to numerous issues.
  • Used vehicles from a dealership
    While mobility dealers are specifically trained to help you meet all your mobility needs, most still operate like conventional dealers. Customers sometimes trade-in their old vehicles for credit towards a new vehicle, leaving the dealership with a used vehicle. While not every dealership has a used vehicle inventory, some have good options to work with.

Hand Control Options

Before going out and purchasing any type of modified device for a vehicle, it’s important to know exactly which hand controls are right for you and your particular needs to ensure that you are in control behind the wheel.

What type of hand control options are available?
Hand controls are designed to help drivers operate the vehicle with limited or no use of their legs. Hand controls are used to control the accelerator and brake pedals along with the steering wheel.

Mechanical hand controls can include a spinner knob, which you position and adjust to your liking on your steering wheel. A spinner knob allows drivers to steer with one hand, while the other hand is free to control the lever that is connected to the accelerator and brake. There are multiple types of hand controls but one of the common ways the device works is by pulling it down to accelerate and pushing it forward to brake.

Another option includes electrical hand controls. An accelerator ring, which is a halo-like device that can be placed on any steering wheel, turns with the steering wheel and the amount of pressure being placed on the ring controls the speed of the car. The brake function is controlled by a lever located on the side of the steering wheel that can be installed either on the left of the right depending on the comfort of the driver.

Which kind of controls fit your needs?
Decision-making can be overwhelming, especially when there are different hand control options to choose from. Luckily, a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist can help you determine what type of hand control is best for your mobility needs, as well as let you test each option to evaluate the efficiency. These specialists can also recommend other kinds of adaptive technology to make your time behind the wheel safer and more comfortable.

How do I install mobility equipment?
Installation of hand controls or any other type of adaptive mobility equipment should always be done by a qualified adaptive mobility specialist. Once you’ve determined what type of equipment is right for you, you should contact your local mobility dealer to determine how you can go about implementing these technologies within your current vehicle.

Spring Rust Treatment

Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

Rust Maintenance
Vehicles today are subject to rust and corrosion due to moisture, humidity, tons of road salt and other airborne pollutants that can cause rapid deterioration of your wheelchair van. If neglected, the damages can make your mobility investment of little value.  The thousands of yearly miles, environments and exposure to the elements of larger vehicles means they are a lot more likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. Correct rust proofing on a regular basis can ensure that your vehicle does not suffer from corrosion related vehicle downtime and keep your van from falling apart.

** We highly recommend that everyone gets their wheelchair accessible vehicles rust proofed at least twice a year. Once in Spring and again in the Fall. **

If you consider that new vehicles undergo thousands of spot welds and numerous bends and folds during assembly; this process damages the automobile coating systems, exposing these panels to corrosion. Besides body-panel damage, certain mechanical parts are also at risk – suspension mounts, hood-locking mechanisms, door hinges, brake cables – which are all susceptible to the damaging effects of rust on your wheelchair van.

To protect your vehicle against corrosion our rust proofing formula does more than just cover the metal required. A rust proofing product must be applied as a high-pressured spray, ensuring protection to your vehicle’s most critical areas by penetrating, displacing existing moisture and protecting the many vulnerable crevices of your automobile.

Benefits of rust treatment
Prevention is better than a cure. There are a number of products that can offer prevention against rust. Products are available either as oils, waxes, fluids and coatings.  The range is vast. Our rust prevention processes, products, plan and application have been found to be very effective and developed over more than 25 years and still remain affordable.

We are the only mobility dealer in New England to offer this service.

Our rust proofing processes is ever evolving and has been for more than 25 years.

Adaptive Golf

Whether you want to learn the game or hone your skills, there is a golf program for everyone! Many solutions exist for whatever stops you from enjoying the game of golf, from carts to clubs to accessories and specialty devices.

  • Adaptive golf carts now have swivel and extending seats and armrests to play while seated as well as elevating lifts that allow paraplegics and others with limited leg strength to play from a standing position.
  • Adaptive golf clubs can have special grips for those with missing fingers, deformed hands, osteoarthritis or loss of strength. Some are specialized for seated or standing golfers. Some club shafts are bent for seated individuals.
  • Gloves and grip aids include prosthetic golf grip devices, elastic gripping devices and more.
  • Accessories include tee setters and ball retrieval systems to reduce bending. One device even stabilizes your balance.

Search for a golf program for those with disabilities in your area to get tailored instruction from golf instructors certified to teach. For more information, check out national associations like the National Alliance for Accessible Golf, the Disabled Sports USA, and/or the United States Golf Assoc.

The Adaptive Golf Foundation of America has scrambles, classics, opens, championships and tournaments across the country throughout the year.

The Importance of Regular Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Maintenance

Whether it’s an oil change or tire rotation, regularly servicing your wheelchair accessible vehicle can help save you time and money, as well as keep you safe on the road. Just as our bodies begin to show the signs of aging, cars, SUVs and vans also can experience diminished performance as time passes. Due to this natural process, it’s vital to get your vehicle checked out by professionals in order to ensure your vehicle’s longevity.

Save Money
While most things wear over time, regular maintenance can significantly decrease the chances of a major problem later on. Preventative and scheduled services are normally small and inexpensive jobs, and can also preserve resale value, saving you even more money.

Save Time
A major breakdown not only costs thousands of dollars, it can also put your vehicle out of working condition for weeks. The worse the damage is, the longer it will likely take a mechanic to get your van or car ready for the road again. Even if the downtime for your car isn’t more than a few hours, a breakdown on the road can be particularly difficult for people with limited mobility operating or riding in the vehicle.

Protect Yourself
Not only does maintenance and regular service save you time and money, it’s an important way to ensure you are safe inside your vehicle.

A wheelchair accessible or other adaptive vehicle can mean the difference between social freedom and considerable limitations. Take care of the investment in your freedom by following regular maintenance schedules and ensuring your ride is in the best shape possible!

Tips to Help Overcome the Fear of Driving

Practice practice practice:

  • To boost your confidence, drive to the end of the block and back or around an empty parking lot, then gradually go for longer drives.
  • Ask someone to accompany you if that helps you relax.

Patience:

  • Don’t start driving if you’re not calm and collected. Sit in the car and take deep breaths until you attain peace of mind and only then start the car and drive away.
  • Yoga classes may help you become a more focused, calm and less distracted driver.
  • If you get lost or experience panic, pull over until you calm down. Take as much time as you need. If you have a cell phone, call for directions.

Never get lost!

  • A Global Positioning System (GPS) may lessen the fear of getting lost.
  • No GPS? Print out the map directions from the Internet for those places you go frequently and keep them in the glove box.

Therapy:

Simple solutions to physical problems may help the mental and emotional pangs. For example, a spinner knob on the steering wheel allows accurate one-handed steering; hand controls replace feet for acceleration or braking—whatever the problem, there are solutions.

Occupational Therapists and Driver Rehabilitation Specialists can help. You can get a behind-the-wheel evaluation and recommendations for adaptive driving aids to help overcome many physical drawbacks. Whether the problem is muscle weakness, spasms or something else, therapists can address them.

Options For Driving From A Wheelchair

There are two options for a person who uses a wheelchair to drive an accessible vehicle. They can drive from their wheelchair and or transfer to the driver’s seat.

Drive from your wheelchair
Driving controls can be adapted to operate from your wheelchair. Usually this means some form of hand controls, though other solutions are possible. There will also be an automatic docking system to secure your wheelchair. All of this will be designed around you and your wheelchair as part of your assessment from an experienced mobility installer.

Safety

  • Because you have the opportunity to travel by yourself, you need to be sure you are able to get out in an emergency.
  • Typically wheelchair accessible vehicle have fail-safe devices for the doors, ramps/lifts and docking systems. These include battery backups and manual over-rides.

Other drivers

  • In many wheelchair accessible vehicles, the front passenger seat can be switched to the drivers side, and there is a docking system on both sides so you can travel as a passenger.

Assessment and training

  • If you’re going to be using adapted controls, you will need a professional driving assessment and training.

Transfer to the Driver’s Seat
Some wheelchair users prefer to transfer to a driving seat because they find it more comfortable or easier to drive. Sometimes it’s necessary because your wheelchair may not be suitable for driving. Using the standard car seat also means that you don’t need to fit a specialist seat belt.

By contrast, transferring into the driver seat may not be suitable if you have a specialist seating system in your wheelchair and may be difficult if you have limited mobility.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles can be adapted to allow you to enter with your wheelchair or scooter (by ramp or lift), secure the wheelchair or scooter in the vehicle, and then transfer to the driving seat. You can replace the standard car seat with one that swivels and slides so that you can transfer into it more easily.

Safety

  • You will need a docking system for securing the wheelchair – you need to be able to do this by yourself.
  • Because you may be traveling by yourself, you need to be sure you will be able to get out in an emergency.

Transferring

  • Transferring between the wheelchair and the seat does take some effort – make sure you can do it even on a bad day.
  • Make sure there is enough room in the vehicle to let you transfer comfortably and that there are handholds and supports where you need them. You may need to fit extra hand rails or other supports.

Assessment and training

  • If you’re going to be using adapted controls, you will need a professional driving assessment and training.

How To Choose A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

When you’re choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you need to think not only about all the same things you do when you’re choosing a standard car, but also other, more specific, things too. Just as when you’re choosing any other car, you may need to compromise and decide which features are most important to you.

Things To Consider

Size

  • Will it fit on your driveway or in your garage? Don’t forget you need to think about the space required for the ramp/lift to be deployed
  • Will it be easy to drive in traffic and on the roads you normally drive on?

Money

  • What’s the price?
  • If you’re buying it yourself, what’s the resale value likely to be?
  • What will it cost you to insure?
  • What’s the fuel consumption like?

Comfort and convenience

  • Can you get in and out easily?
  • Can you use the controls?
  • Is it quiet and smooth when you’re driving?
  • Is there good visibility for everyone in the vehicle?

Space

  • Is there room for all the people and luggage you want to carry?
  • What about times when you might want to carry a lot of luggage or equipment (ex. holidays)?

Features

  • Does it have everything you need?
  • What about air conditioning, automatic transmission, electric windows, remote start, heated seats, etc?

Performance

  • Does it give you reasonable speed and acceleration?
  • What about braking, ride and handling?

Specific considerations

Getting in and out

  • Will you choose a ramp or a lift?
  • Will you have someone to assist you?
  • Can you get in and out without hitting your head or having to duck?

Traveling position

  • Where will your wheelchair sit?
  • Will you be able to see out of the windows?
  • Will you be able to talk to other people easily?

Safety

  • How will you secure yourself and your wheelchair?
  • How will you secure any equipment you use to get in and out?
  • How will you secure anything else (unattended wheelchair, luggage, equipment, etc)?

Reliability

  • Can you rely on the equipment you use to get in and out?
  • What happens if it breaks down?
  • Are there manual over-rides for any powered equipment?
  • Do you have a suitable dealer nearby for servicing?

Build quality

  • Different conversions have been built to different standards, so some will be more comfortable and less noisy inside than others.

Universal design

Universal design

Universal Design makes things safer, easier and more convenient for everyone.
Universal Design involves designing products and spaces so that they can be used by the widest range of people possible. Universal Design evolved from Accessible Design, a design process that addresses the needs of people with disabilities. Universal Design goes further by recognizing that there is a wide spectrum of human abilities. Everyone, even the most able-bodied person, passes through childhood, periods of temporary illness, injury and old age. By designing for this human diversity, we can create things that will be easier for all people to use.

Who Does Universal Design Benefit?
Everyone.
Universal Design takes into account the full range of human diversity, including physical, perceptual and cognitive abilities, as well as different body sizes and shapes. By designing for this diversity, we can create things that are more functional and more user-friendly for everyone. For instance, curb cuts at sidewalks were initially designed for people who use wheelchairs, but they are now also used by pedestrians with strollers or rolling luggage. Curb cuts have added functionality to sidewalks that we can all benefit from.

What can be Universally Designed?
Everything.

  • Universal Design can apply to anything that can be designed, including products like door handles, kitchen utensils and smartphones.
  • Universal Design can be applied to architecture and the built environment, including public and commercial buildings, as well as residential buildings and family homes.
  • Universal Design can also be applied to the community at large through urban planning and public transportation.

Universal Design vs. the Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a piece of legislation that protects the civil rights of people with disabilities by ensuring that they are not unfairly denied access to job opportunities, goods or services due to their disability. The ADA includes the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which outlines accessibility requirements for buildings and facilities. There is a great deal of overlap between what is required under the ADA and what would be suggested by Universal Design, but there are also differences. The ADA outlines the bare minimum necessary in order to curb discrimination against people with disabilities, while Universal Design strives to meet the best practices for design, which are always evolving and improving as we continue to learn more about how to best meet people’s different needs. The ADA focuses solely on the civil rights of people with disabilities, while Universal Design is designed with everyone in mind. The ADA does not apply to single family residences, while Universal Design can and should.

Below are some examples of universal designs:

Low Force Flooring Materials
There is actually a reason that short, stiff carpets and hard surface floors are found in most public buildings. If you use a wheelchair, you know how difficult it can be to push through even slightly plush carpet. Wheelchairs, handcarts, strollers – they are all easier to operate on hard surfaces.

Seamless Room Transitions
Room thresholds are most common in transitions between areas of carpeting and hard surfaces, and those lips can be not only difficult, but painful to maneuver over. Sticking to a consistent flooring style and removing those thresholds can make a huge impact on ease of maneuvering an interior.

Access for Pools
An hour of freely moving around in the water gives people with severe arthritis, muscle atrophy, and more a way to recover and live a significantly more pain-free life. This is why an increasing number of public pools have accessible chairs on metal arms by the side of the pool.

Lever Handles Instead of Knobs
Knobs, while being visually more appealing, require quite a bit more arm and wrist torque to move the bolt. Lever handles require both less force and overall motion.

Close Captioning/Large Print
Tablets, eReaders, smartphones, and more have shortcuts to increase font size easily – another great example of subtle universal design. This is the same principle behind why Netflix, YouTube and others alike now have captioning built in. Disability or not, these features can make life easier.

 

Accessible RV

You’ve probably read a lot about handicap minivans and full-size vans, but how about an accessible RV? If you travel often and find accessible hotels not so wheelchair friendly or you have a distaste of flying, an accessible motor-home could be a solution. Finances permitting, you could buy a new or used RV and have the conversion equipment you need installed.

A mobility equipment dealer can modify your new or used RV with whatever you require. The most common type of customization involves installing a wheelchair lift and widening the vehicle’s entrance and interior aisles to accommodate the wheelchair’s width.

Other common adaptations might include lowering the bed and toilet, installing hand control systems, wheelchair tie downs and handrails in strategic positions or modifying the shower and/or tub.

RVs carry their own water and waste management system. All you need is an electrical hookup at an RV campsite, state or national park or, if necessary, a generator.

Google “accessible RV parks” or “accessible RV campgrounds” for locations along your route. Access varies with each camping location, so check out the website or call beforehand. Be sure it has hard-surface cement or asphalt sites, not gravel or sand.

Think about it, you wouldn’t have to stay in a hotel or motel again, as RVs are totally self-contained living quarters on wheels. They have open floor plans with kitchens; barrier-free, roll-in showers with grab bars; extra-wide interior doors; and whatever bells and whistles you desire.

If you don’t travel often enough to justify purchasing an RV, search for a place that rents accessible RVs. Start looking well in advance of your trip.

Ready To Sell You Wheelchair Van? Make sure Its Ready To Be Bought!

If you’re trying to sell your wheelchair accessible vehicle by yourself, you should know the average mobility vehicle could take a few months to sell. The number of people with limited mobility in one local area who are in the market to purchase can be very small. Add to that the specialized equipment on your van that a potential buyer may not want, and the weeks roll by (and you’re still making payments on the old van).

The fastest deal is at a local mobility dealership. We buy and sell new and used vans throughout New England, take trade-ins, buy vehicle outright and/or can put them on consignment—whether it’s a non-converted vehicle or a converted van.

In order to get the best offer (or trade-in value), you should make sure its in “buying condition”.

Look at the vehicle with fresh eyes—like a buyer would. Ask yourself, “Would I buy this vehicle?”

  • If something needs repairing, fix it. A small investment can add hundreds to the value.
  • Wash it, wax it or take it to a detailer for a shine, inside and out. Maybe you only need to wash it and perhaps buy new floor mats.
  • Write down vehicle information such as year, make, model, interior and exterior colors and mileage; VIN number; side or rear entry, configuration of the interior of the van; standard features; removable features and any other adaptive extras.
  • Double check safety features: Are the tie-downs still sturdy and clean? Does the lift or ramp still operate smoothly?
  • Consider replacing the tires if they are bald.
  • Take out all personal items you may want to keep.
  • Find the registration, warranty, owner’s manual, equipment manuals and repair receipts.
  • All controls should be clearly labeled—and work!

Now you’re ready to sell or trade-in for a newer model.

Driving In A Wheelchair

With the right equipment driving can be a reality for many wheelchair users. Drivers have the option to transfer into the driver’s seat or drive from their wheelchair, whichever is most comfortable and convenient. Your mobility dealer can guide you through the range of options for your best driving experience.

  • The driver’s seat can easily be removed so you can drive from your wheelchair or transfer into the original seat.
  • Your mobility dealer can introduce you to the type of vehicle and the adaptive equipment that will make you comfortable behind the wheel.
  • You can drive from your wheelchair in any side-entry converted vehicle.
  • Rear-entry vehicles do not allow driving from a wheelchair.

What To Consider When Shopping For A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

If you have a disAbility and don’t yet have an accessible vehicle, it’s difficult to know where to start. You’ve worked with your doctor and therapist, maybe even a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS), but they don’t know your budget, your preferred car or van, or where the nearest mobility dealer is.

Your medical team will help, of course, but you have homework to do:

Set a budget
How much can you afford to pay for a new or used wheelchair van? Figure in the down payment, monthly payment, insurance, gas and an estimate for yearly maintenance. Look for rebates, grants, loans, etc. to help reduce the price tag.

Research, research, research
Your doctor or therapist may recommend necessary adaptive equipment, but there may be other equipment you’d like. Check out the many options available now.

Testing, testing
If you can, test drive different vehicles at the mobility dealership to get the feel of spaciousness, ease or difficulty of loading, driving and parking, etc.

As you narrow the choices down, you might want to rent your top choice for a weekend or week-long trip. Time on the road will determine if the make and model are right for you.

Ask yourself these questions

  • Does it fit lengthwise and width-wide in my driveway or garage?
  • Is there space enough for the ramp or lift to deploy?
  • Can I easily reach and work all the controls?
  • If you plan to use a transfer seat- Is the seat comfortable? (Like your favorite chair at home—can you sit in it for hours and still be comfortable?)

There are many factors to consider that you may not have thought about until you test drive several candidates.

Find a mobility dealer
You will need to find an expert on wheelchair accessible vehicles and adaptive equipment. There are some things to consider when searching for the perfect mobility dealer to assist you.

  • Where are they located?
  • How experienced are they?
  • Do they offer a full-service shop?
  • How many vehicle options do they have available?

Where To Begin: Accessibility Options

Vehicles can be adapted in many different ways, but the options are almost always dependent on how the wheelchair user plans to use it on a day-to-day basis. A few questions to consider when initially thinking about what you need are:

  • What’s the ideal location for the wheelchair user to sit in the vehicle?
  • Will the wheelchair user be driving?
  • Does the wheelchair user want to transfer out of their seat?
  • Is the wheelchair positioned at an extended height or width?

After those questions are answered, you can begin to look into the various accessibility conversions available to fit your vehicle needs. A few of the most common features include hand controls, transfer seats and ramp or lift style.

Six-Month Maintenance on Accessible Vehicles

Every vehicle needs maintenance on a periodic basis, and a wheelchair-accessible vehicle is no exception. Do you take your van to a regular mechanic occasionally for oil changes and tune-ups and then a mobility dealer for the adaptive equipment check-up every six months?

Going to two different places when you don’t need to is poor time management. For smooth operation of your time, vehicle and adaptive equipment, skip the mechanic and take it to a us – we can do both in just one trip.

We have the training and experience needed to maintain and repair complicated, high-tech systems and controls installed in modern wheelchair accessible vans and the expertise in dozens of features that a regular mechanic is not trained to repair.

Full Sized Accessible Wheelchair Vans

Ask people with disAbilities—when purchasing a handicap or accessible van—size matters. The full-sized van is a good option for those with a large family, those who travel often, those with additional equipment and accessories, those who need to tow large loads, or big or tall passengers or drivers.

Most minivans do not have roof modifications so you don’t have as much interior space.  Roomy full-size vans gain space by raising the roof, lowering the floor or both, and also have the advantage of more power and load carrying capacity.

Full-sized van:

  • Its weight-carrying capacity is significantly more than a minivan’s. It can hold the weight of a power wheelchair and even accommodate two individuals in wheelchairs.
  • It offers a lowered floor for the center, passenger or driver position; raised roof, raised doors; lifts and adaptive driving aids.
  • A raised roof makes it easy for someone to enter the van seated in a wheelchair or for a caretaker to tend to them or walk in and out of the entrance.
  • Doors are raised in conjunction with a roof to enable a person in a wheelchair to enter without having to bend over or have a caretaker tilt the wheelchair back.
  • Larger wheelchairs or motorized wheelchairs require floor-lowering or roof-raising modifications that a full-size van allows.

Steering Aids

Deep-Dish Steering Wheel
This device brings the steering wheel rim approximately 4″ closer to the wheelchair driver and is normally used with a low-effort steering system. It improves wheelchair accessibility to the steering wheel and lessens the range of steering motion.

Foot Steering Control
This devise transfers control of hand operated driving function to foot operation. Auxiliary and secondary vehicle controls are also adapted to foot operation.

Horizontal Steering Column
This motorized, telescoping steering column allows for adjustment of steering in a variety of planes and positions. It adapts to the reach limitations of a driver, and can be positioned for right or left hand use.

Low Effort Steering
This feature reduces the effort to steer the vehicle by approximately 40 per cent.

One Hand Drive Control System
This steering system is designed for people with limited or no use of lower extremities by good strength in one arm and hand. Its main component is a knob through which steering, brake, and throttle are activated. Auxiliary switches can be located adjacent to the knob, with toggle switches for convenience.

Steering Column Extension
This extension brings the steering wheel 2 -6″ closer to the wheelchair driver. It provides extra leg room and compensates for reduced range of movement.

Steering Spinners
Spinner knobs permit safe operation of the steering wheel by drivers who must steer with one hand. It allows them to remain in contact with the steering wheel at all times. They come in a variety of configurations including an amputee ring, knob, so called “quad-steering cuff,” palm grip, tri-pin and v-grip.

Zero Effort Steering
This reduces the effort required to steer the vehicle by approximately 70 per cent. A back-up steering system is usually recommended. It is available for vehicles with power steering.

Experienced Mobility Equipment Dealers

When it comes to finding the right transportation solution for your needs the options are almost endless. There’s accessible minivans, trucks, wheelchair and scooter carriers, lifts, ramps, hand controls, transfer seats etc. To ensure you are getting the right mobility products for your specific needs it’s important to get the help of an experienced mobility equipment dealer. Most local mobility equipment dealers have been in business for years and over that time have gained the knowledge and expertise to fit you with the very best product for your situation.

Quality mobility equipment dealers will meet with you in person to help determine your individual needs and what adaptive vehicle or equipment is best for you. They’ll ask you questions about you, your disability, your wheelchair or scooter, how you’ll be using the vehicle, will there be additional drivers, your budget etc.

It’s important that you ask the mobility equipment dealer some specific questions, as well. You’ll need to find out if they offer 24-hour emergency assistance, are their technicians trained and certified, and are they a full service automotive shop. You then have to ask yourself if you feel like they’re easy to work with and ultimately if you want to do business with this dealership.

Whether you buy new or used will depend on your finances but the most important thing is that the vehicle is designed to fit your requirements. Your local mobility dealer is the key to getting you into the right vehicle. Based on your disability, together, you can easily determine what’s the best transportation solution for you.

Un-Converted Senior-Friendly Vehicles

Are you looking for comfortable seating, a roomy driving position, safety, good visibility and wide doors with high entries/lowered floors so you don’t have to struggle to get in and out? In a vehicle with style, of course! Well now most automakers are designing cars with features that are more senior-friendly.

What to look for:

  • Sliding rear doors that require little strength or even better, power sliding doors. Power anything is a plus.
  • Brighter instrument displays and larger type.
  • Doors that open wider.
  • Navigation screens closer to eye level and not at arm’s length.
  • Large side mirrors.

AAA recommends that drivers look for vehicles with features that address their specific health issues/mobility needs:

  • For hip, knee or leg problems, a 6-way adjustable power seat is easier for drivers to enter and exit. Also look for seat heights that hit the driver between mid-thigh and lower buttocks.
  • Arthritic hands, painful or stiff fingers benefit from four-door models, thick steering wheels, keyless entry and ignition, power mirrors and seats and larger dashboard controls.
  • Those with diminished vision should look for extendable sun visors, large audio and climate controls and easy-to-read displays with contrasting text. And less glare. (Blue-green instrument lighting is easier to read than red.)
  • A roomy trunk that can fit a walker or wheelchair.

If you can’t find one car that has it all, remember that there are many different types of adaptive equipment that could work for you. Adaptive equipment options vary from the ability to control secondary functions like turn signals and wipers with a touchscreen or voice control to pedal extenders, swivel seats and much more.

Find Financial Resources for Your Mobility Needs

Far too often, you find it hard to afford many of the tools and resources that you need in everyday life. For that reason, there are several alternative ways to get funding that will ensure that you get the assistance you need to live a hassle-free life without worrying about breaking the bank.

Here are a few sources of financial assistance to look into if you are finding it hard to cover all of your mobility expenses.

Medicare:
Usually offered only through private companies, Medicare can be a good option for certain medical devices and equipment and is based on your medical necessity for the goods or services you may need help with.

Medicaid:
While there is no exclusive list in terms of medical equipment covered, cases are approved on a case-by-case basis. Medicaid is a great option to look into if your expenses and needs aren’t covered by Medicare.

The IRS:
Did you know that certain mobility aids such as adaptive driving equipment can be deducted from your federal taxes? Contact your local tax adviser to see what equipment and supplies you use regularly to see if they can be deducted.

State Programs:
Check with your state’s vocational rehabilitation agencies to see if your mobility needs are approved for financial assistance. If any of it helps you get to work or perform your job efficiently, you may be covered here. Aside from that, you may also want to check out your local Center for Independent Living to see if they have any other resources that you can look into for financial assistance.

Vehicle-Related:
If you’ve recently had any adaptive equipment or ramps installed in your vehicle—or, for that matter, if you’ve recently purchased wheelchair van—there are some dealerships that will reimburse you for such things. Check with your local mobility-friendly dealership to learn more.

With these resources at your disposal, you can hopefully stop worrying about money and focus more on living a stress-free life where your mobility needs are easily met.

Department of Veteran Affairs: Making Mobility Equipment Accessible & Affordable

The Department of Veteran Affairs is a great resource for making mobility equipment accessible and affordable through available benefits. There are several options available to shoppers for new equipment as well as those looking for upgrades with their current equipment.

One option is to accept a special benefit allowance for automobiles. These funds are available for modifications covered in the Automobile Adaptive Equipment (AAE) program for existing vehicles- from mini-vans to motor homes. One should check with the local VA office to make sure criteria are met before making a purchase for a specialized vehicle. The application for adaptive equipment is also titled VAF 10-1394. Find more specific information about modifications and the list of required documents for reimbursement by following this link to the VA program profile.

Once in ownership of a modified vehicle, the VA helps cover some repairs however, regular maintenance is not covered. The VA typically allows for two vehicles to be purchased or modified in a 4-year period and exceptions are made for instances of theft, fire, accident, court or legal actions, costly repairs and changes in the driver’s medical needs that would require a new vehicle.

A second option deals with the prescription of orthotic equipment such as wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Once a veteran is assessed to need mobility equipment by the VA and its doctors- an approved and accredited firm helps fit the veteran in need the top of the line orthotic equipment.  For a list of these firms, follow this link.

Airport Travel Tips for Wheelchair Users

 Architectural designers have made access to airports far easier these days for those using wheelchair accessible vehicles.  Traveling can be stressful for any individual, but the airport crowds and airplane accessibility can be even more challenging for travelers with disabilities. While the process will never be completely hassle-free for anyone, we have compiled a list of pointers that we feel may alleviate some of the stress involved in air travel.

Security Checkpoints
Before flying, its always a good idea to do the research and educate yourself on the procedures you or your loved one in a wheelchair will encounter with TSA screenings.  Instead of being asked to pass through the scanner, TSA regulations call for wheelchair users to submit to a pat down.  If you are uncomfortable with this procedure, you are welcome to ask for a private screening.  TSA agents will be able to assist you, if necessary, with removing your shoes or placing any extraneous items on the x-ray belt.  More in depth information is available on TSA policies and procedures for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions.

Boarding and De-Boarding the Aircraft
Airplanes are wheelchair accessible vehicles, but it is wise to arrive early enough to your gate (recommended time is about an hour in advance) to get you and your wheelchair checked in for your flight. In this process, be absolutely sure that your chair has been tagged. This ensures that your chair reaches your final destination with you. You may also request to pre-board your flight so that you have ample time and room to be comfortably seated before the crowd files onto the plane. Know that you will be the first on the plane, but the last to de-board after all the other passengers have excited the aircraft.

Car Rental
If you will be renting any wheelchair accessible vehicles with hand controls, know that you should order your vehicle at least 48 hours in advance to ensure the proper vehicle is ready when you reach your destination. Additionally, do your homework ahead of time to ensure you’re working with a car rental company located inside the airport if at all possible. This prevents the hassle of reaching the car rental station via bus or tram.

We strongly encourage you to call your airline and car rental companies in the beginning of your travel planning process in order to explain the equipment you will be traveling with, and make the best arrangements possible to allow for smooth travels.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Repair Shops

When your accessible vehicle needs repairing, where do you take it? After checking the warranty, take it to the place where you bought it. But if you are out of town, have moved or it’s after hours, what do you do? You should know that answer before you need a repair or auto body shop.

Call the company that sold it to you. If they don’t make repairs, they can find a service center near you that works with conversion vehicles.

Check with your insurance company as they often make recommendations or have preferred shops. Get the list and research the shops.

Contact shops and ask if they have quality assurance program training, are members of national organizations such as ASA, I-CAR, are ASE certified and/or are members of NMEDA

  • NMEDA is a non-profit trade association of mobility equipment manufacturers, dealers, driver rehabilitation specialists, and other professionals dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities and assisting with driving independence using wheelchair accessible vehicles.
  • The non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) conducts a national certification program for automotive technicians. Call 800-ASA-SHOP to see if the shop is a member and if they have any complaints against them.
  • I-CAR is a not-for-profit international training organization dedicated to improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of auto collision repair. Visit i-car.com.
  • ASA (Automotive Service Association) has a database of repair facility members nationwide. Visit asashop.org or call 800-272-7467.

Other tips:

  • Ask friends, neighbors and associates who they use. They will recommend a good shop or warn you away from not-so-good shops.
  • Call the Better Business Bureau.
  • Get the estimate in writing, not just over the phone.
  • Ask about a warranty on the work.
  • Google local repair shops

Adaptive Equipment Solutions To Help Arthritic Drivers and Others

People with severe arthritis, people with Muscular Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy and others with disAbilities can drive again with the help of a mobility equipment expert. To find the specific product solution for your driving challenges, consult with a Physical or Occupational Therapist, Driver Rehabilitation Specialist and a Mobility dealer. Here are just a few adaptive mobility devices that they may recommend to keep you on the road.

If your hands are too weak to turn the steering wheel, there’s a solution:

  • Joystick Driving Systems allow one-hand operation of brake, accelerator and steering and only require ounces of pressure to use.

If you can’t reach controls on your dashboard or steering wheel, there’s a solution:

  • Remote Wiper, Horn, Dimmer Switch, Signals and Headlight Controls. This control relocates these functions to a more reachable location. The driver uses a switch with the hand, elbow, head or knee.

If you have leg spasms, there’s a solution:

  • Pedal Block (for gas and brake) guards against inadvertent engagement of gas or the brakes due to a spasm.

How To Make Your Wheelchair Vehicle Ready To Sell or Trade

If you’re trying to sell your wheelchair accessible vehicle by yourself, you should know the average mobility vehicle could take a few months to sell. The number of people with mobility challenges in one local area who are in the market to purchase can be very small. Add to that the specialized equipment on your van that a potential buyer may not want, and the weeks roll by (and you’re still making payments on the old van).

The quickest deal is at a local mobility dealership. Many buy and sell new and used vans nationwide and take trade-ins, buy outright or on consignment—whether it’s a non-converted vehicle or a converted van.

You want to get the best offer (or trade-in value), so before taking the family transportation to a dealership, have a friend help clean it up if it is too big of a task for you.

Look at the vehicle with fresh eyes—like a buyer would. Ask yourself, “Would I buy this vehicle?”

  • If something needs repairing, fix it. A small investment can add hundreds to the value.
  • Wash it, wax it or get it detailed for a shine, inside and out. Maybe you only need to wash it and perhaps buy new floor mats.
  • Write down vehicle information such as year, make, model, interior and exterior colors and mileage; VIN number; side or rear entry, configuration of the interior of the van; standard features; removable features and any other adaptive extras.
  • Double check safety features: Are the tie-downs still sturdy and clean? Does the lift or ramp still operate smoothly?
  • Consider replacing the tires if they are bald.
  • Take out all personal items you may want to keep.
  • Find the registration, warranty, owner’s manual, equipment manuals and repair receipts.
  • All controls should be clearly labeled—and work!

Now you’re ready to sell or trade-in for a newer model.

Tips For Buying A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

You’re a first time wheelchair van buyer, and like many other customers have questions about handicap vans, or how or where they are built, and what kind of prices to expect. This portion of our website will assist you to find answers to your questions and provide creative mobility product solutions. We encourage you to gather as much information as possible, but the best education of needs and options is done through a consultation with a Mobility Consultant. Our staff knows the inside and out of Adaptive Equipment and can custom fit and recommend the perfect wheelchair accessible vehicle transportation for friends, family, and most importantly you!

There are many different options and possibilities with handicap accessible vehicles; the most common option is a wheelchair accessible minivan. A wheelchair accessible van is modified to allow a wheelchair or scooter user to drive their mobility equipment directly into the handicap accessible vehicle with no assistance. Featuring a 10-11″ dropped floor for easy entry and exist (with headroom up to 58″!) and removable front seats that allow the user to ride safely in the front passenger area or even drive from their wheelchair.

TIPS TO BUYING A WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE VEHICLE:

  • Create a list of features you want and need, so you can accurately access the cost differences.
  • Take into consideration how you’re going to transport the whole family.
  • Consider the adaptive equipment that needs to be transported. Will it change over time?
  • What is the age of the user and caregivers?
  • Have a budget. Check with a Mobility Consultant to obtain all information including 10-year financing options and rebates available.
  • Talk with a Certified Mobility Consultant to explain features and benefits, and guide you through the wheelchair van conversion buying process.
  • Purchasing your new or used wheelchair van from Ability Center provides a piece-of-mind because we are a Certified Mobility Dealer that is part of NMEDA and is QAP certified.
  • Rent and try before you buy. Ability Center will apply your handicap van rental costs to the purchase of a new or previously-owned handicap accessible vehicle.
  • Buy for today, and tomorrow! It’s a big investment that should last you many years.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS AND THEIR ANSWERS:

  • Do you convert the mobility vans there? No. Vans with new ramp conversions are converted in three locations: Indiana, Michigan, and Arizona. We obtain them complete. We install external or internal lifts, and any adaptive equipment necessary to custom fit the driver to their van.
  • What vans are being converted? Currently, the manufacturers are converting the Dodge/Chrysler minivans, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey Chevrolet/Buick minivans, and Ford E-Series vans & Transit Connects.
  • I want to carry two wheelchairs. Can I? Most handicap van conversions make carrying two wheelchairs a breeze, but that depends on the style of chair or scooter. Talk to our Mobility Specialist they’ll know what will work for you.
  • I can’t make it down to your store. Can you come out? Yes. We love in-home demonstrations. It gives you the chance to have your whole family there and try the new or used handicap van in your own environment. Just pick a van, and we’ll bring it out to you at no-charge.
  • How do I secure my wheelchair? Depending on the model, there are several ways to secure your equipment. Three typical ways are: 4-piont manual strapping system that comes with every van; optional 4-point retractable straps; and the EZ-Lock bracket system. Please check with your Mobility Specialist to see if a bracket designed for your equipment. There are some popular wheelchairs on the market that do not have a bracket.
  • I want to save more money. What do you have? Besides taking advantage of any and all rebates out there, consider a manual ramp version or the very popular used van with a new conversion. A pre-owned conversion van may be the way to go if you are considering a budget. You can save thousands on a pre-owned van.
  • Why is the price set the way it is? The final price is a combined cost of the van AND the mobility conversion. What will determine the overall price is what you want out of the van and options (i.e.: Toyota Sienna Limited versus Dodge Grand Caravan SE). The conversions are priced very closely and do not generally affect overall price.
  • Can I trade in my non-converted vehicle? YES! Bring it by and we’ll give you the best deal on non-converted or converted vehicles. We’ll take the stress out of selling the vehicle on the market.
  • Can I try the van first? Absolutely you can test drive the vehicle to see if it going to work for you and your family!
  • I want to buy my van at the dealer; they’ve been nice to me. Depending on the manufacturer and conversion, that could be done. You will not take physical possession of the van, but your relationship with them will be continued. Before you do, talk to our Mobility Specialists and they’ll let you know if that van can be purchased through your favorite dealer. We have a great working relationship with most dealers, so we know how to work with the auto dealers in your town.
  • Do you offer financing for handicap vans? Yes. We work with banks that finance mobility vans up to 10 years, or on terms that fit your needs. Our rates are comparable to what is on the market.
  • Can I use my own bank? Certainly. But be cautious, you must let them know that it is a van converted for wheelchair access. Some private or national banks will not finance the total cost of the mobility van, and only finance up to 120% of the value of the van prior to conversion. Call your Mobility Specialist before you go to your bank, it may be helpful to assist you with your bank by letting them know of your intentions.
  • Does Medicare pay for vans? No. Due to Medicare guidelines and policy the vehicle conversion is a “deluxe item” only to be used outside the home, for which that equipment Medicare does not deem “medically necessary.”
  • Who will assist with funds for me? Depending on where you live, your state could have funds set aside for financial assistance. These funds are available upon application and approval of your case and if the state has funds available. Sometimes this can take up to 6 months or longer. Call our Mobility Specialist; they will know where to direct you to start the process.
  • I am a disabled Veteran. How do I obtain a mobility van? If the VA has provided you with a wheelchair or scooter, you are entitled to a lift for your existing vehicle or a mobility conversion to transport that equipment. Depending on your diagnosis or if your disability is service connected or not, either will be provided. Call us; we’ll work with your local VA to help you start the process. We are very experienced with Veterans policy and procedures.
  • Can I convert my own van? The handicap vans we offer are complete, but you could convert your own. This is a very rare circumstance, but if it absolutely needs to be done your vehicle needs to fit the manufacturer’s criteria for converting a customer-owned van. In just about all cases, because of the time and additional expenses, it is more beneficial and cost effective to the customer to purchase a van post-converted to take advantage of rebates. Conversions cannot be financed on their own.

Adapted Snowmobiling

If you have limited mobility due to a disAbility, you may think riding a snowmobile is simply out of the question. As the leader in mobility features and transportation for people with disAbilities, Automotive Innovations takes that as a challenge.

Jim’s passion for snowmobiles is unwavering and he has worked on wheelchair accessible vehicles for more than 28 years.

If you’re a daredevil at heart, like Jim, and want an exciting way to get around this winter, see if he can up fit a Snowmobile just for you. If you are no longer able to ride a standard snowmobile but are not ready to give up the thrill of the ride, contact Automotive Innovations and find out how Jim Sanders and the mobility experts at Automotive Innovations will change your life!

New England DisAbled Sports: Winter Activities

New Englands Disabled Sports- Winter Activities

About New England DisAbled Sports
New England DisAbled Sports is a national recognized program which provides year round adaptive sport instruction to adults and children with physical and cognitive disAbilities.

Their programs allow individuals with disAbilities to enjoy a boundary-free environment, enjoy outdoor recreation with friends and family, as well as provide access to equipment and instruction that might otherwise be unavailable.

Their Mission:
The Mission of New England DisAbled Sports is, through sports, to change lives affected by disAbilities. Download New England DisAbled Sports brochure

Their Vision:
They envision a world where disAbilities are not barriers.

Their Values:

  • They embrace volunteerism
  • They foster community
  • They strive for excellence
  • They listen to and learn from everyone
  • They nurture personal development through high-quality training and instruction
  • They strive for diversity

Winter Activities

Alpine Skiing

Mono skiing
The mono ski is a device used mainly by people with limited use (or absence) of the lower extremities. A mono ski, also known as a sit-ski, consists of a molded seat mounted on a metal frame. A shock absorber beneath the seat eases riding on uneven terrain and helps in turning by maximizing ski-snow contact. Modern mono skis interface with a single, ordinary alpine ski by means of a “ski foot,” a metal or plastic block in the shape of a boot sole that clicks into the ski’s binding. A mono skier use outriggers for stability; an outrigger resembles a forearm crutch with a short ski on the bottom. People new to mono-skiing are often surprised to see how much terrain is skiable in a mono ski; advanced mono skiers can be found not only carving turns on groomed runs but also skiing moguls, terrain parks, race courses, glades and even backcountry terrain—in short, wherever stand-up skiers can go.

Bi-skiing
A bi-ski is a sit ski with a can be skied independently like the mono-ski with hand-held outriggers, or can be skied with the assistance of an instructor using stabilizing outriggers and tethers. The skier moves his or her head, shoulders or hand-held outriggers to turn the bi-ski. The bi-ski has a lift mechanism for getting onto a chairlift. It can also be used to accustom a new sit-skier to the snow before moving to a mono-ski. Bi-skis are used by people with upper and lower limb impairments and with poor balance. People with these impairments might bi-ski:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Amputees
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Severe epilepsy
  • Spinal bifida
  • Severe balance impairment

Outriggers are metal elbow crutches with the tip section of a ski pivoted on the bottom of the crutch. Some outriggers have adjustable brakes attached to the back edge of the ski to give some speed control. Outriggers are used to aid balance and/or to give support. Outriggers are used by mono-skiers, bi-skiers and standing skiers needing aid with balance.

3-Track & 4-Track skiing
3 track skiing is defined as skiing on one ski with outriggers to maintain balance. The student is able to stand on one ski and maintain dynamic balance with the assistance of outriggers (poles). 4 track skiing is very similar to 3 track but the skier has 2 feet on skies, rather than one.

Visually Impaired
Alpine (downhill) skiing is one of the rare opportunities available that allows the blind individual to move freely at speed through time and space. It provides the opportunity to embrace and commune with the primal force of gravity, thus experiencing the sheer exhilaration of controlled mass in motion, in a physically independent setting.

For those with Visual Impairment, a sighted Guide is needed. For lesser impairment the guide may simply need to ski a short distance in front of the skier to show the way. Skiers with greater vision loss or who are totally blind will generally ski using a headset arrangement to give audible instruction.

Snowboarding
Snowboarding has become very popular with New England DisAbled Sports students. People with cognitive or physical disAbilities are able to participate and experience the thrills of riding the mountain. The number of snowboarding lessons increases each year as the sport grows in popularity within our community. New England DisAbled Sports offers ski and snowboard lessons daily throughout the winter season.

Snowshoeing
Come explore the snow trails and fresh air of the mountains covered in snow while snowshoeing. Enjoy a winter hike in the woods from the more stable base of snowshoes. Take in peaceful scenery while working to improve your physical fitness level, balance and spatial awareness. You’ll love it!

Winter Biathlon
A seemingly unlikely combination of events – one is an aerobic activity (skiing or running) which requires strength, speed and endurance; the other is a passive activity (shooting) which requires concentration and a steady hand (difficult after you’ve been skiing, running or walking all out!).

 

Steer Yourself In The Right Direction To Find The Perfect Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Purchasing or financing a wheelchair accessible vehicle takes time, money and a little bit of research. Because of the many available options when it comes to handicap vehicles, and the investment they require, knowing where to start your search is crucial and can shape the entire process. NMEDA member dealers work with individuals with disAbilities, as well as their caregivers and families, to ensure we steer you in the direction of the perfect vehicle for you. Here are a few useful tips and resources:

Go to the Pros
By going straight to a NMEDA members dealership, like ourselves, you’ll be sure that you’re getting the best possible care and attention, as well as professional service. All dealerships are required to adhere to strict quality standards under our Quality Assurance Program and, will provide you with the best solutions for your specific needs. Starting your search at a NMEDA dealer near you means you are sure you get behind the wheel of a handicap vehicle that’s right for you.

Establish Your Needs
Who will be the vehicle’s primary driver? Will you be driving from a wheelchair, transferring into the vehicle’s seat or transporting a loved one with a disability? Will you need to enter and exit the vehicle on your own or will help be nearby? Are you looking for a truck, car, minivan or a SUV? The answers to these questions can help determine what kind of adapted vehicle and equipment you need before diving into inventory listings.

Know Your Budget
We know that one of the most difficult parts of purchasing a new vehicle is making sure the cost is within your means. When it comes to finding a wheelchair accessible or adaptive vehicle, there are more options than you might realize. There are several state and government organizations in place to help get you the car you need.

Enabled By Design

Enabled by Design is a social business run on a not-for-profit basis for the benefit of its community.

It’s all about people-powered products and services:
Enabled by Design is a social business and community of people who are passionate about design for all. They believe that a good design can support people to live as independently as possible, by helping to make day-to-day tasks a little bit easier and in turn more manageable.

Enabled by Design’s work focuses on doing the following:

  • They provide their community with a space to share and talk about independent living products and services that are already available on the market, and to look at how they could be improved.
  • They are interested in exploring how people can “hack” or modify things to make them more accessible and easier to use.
  • They are working to develop relationships with designers, so that their community can help to improve the designs of the future with the aim of mainstreaming accessibility.

Enabled by Design was inspired by co-founder Denise Stephens’ experiences following her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2003. Having suffered a series of disabling relapses and hospital admissions, Denise was assessed by an occupational therapist (OT) and given a range of assistive equipment to help her to be as independent as possible. Although this equipment made a huge difference to her life, she became frustrated as her home started to look more and more like a hospital. But Denise had an idea…

In April 2008, Enabled by Design was chosen to take part in the first ever Social Innovation Camp. A weekend long competition, Social Innovation Camp brings together people with ideas of how to solve specific social issues, with web developers, designers and those with business expertise to develop online solutions to real world challenges. At the end of the weekend after a Dragons’ Den-style pitching competition, Enabled by Design was awarded first prize as the ‘project with most potential’.

Since then Enabled by Design has been chosen to be part of the independent living stream of the Innovation Exchange’s Next Practice Programme, as well as a Level 1 and Level 2 Better Net UnLtd (Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs) award winner.

Denise and her co-founder, Dominic Campbell (also founder of government consultancy and social innovation incubator FutureGov), continue to work hard to spread the word about Enabled by Design and its goals, building a diverse community of people with an active interest in accessibility and design that supports independent living.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles: Q&A

Wheelchair
Accessible Vans

Rear entry Vs. Side entry
Buying New Vs. Buying Used
Manual Ramp Vs. Powered Ramp
Honda Vs. Dodge/Chrysler Vs. Toyota Vs. Ford
Certified Mobility Dealer Vs. Car Dealer Vs. Buying online
What do you need to know to get maximum benefit for minimum expense?

Good information is the key to saving money and getting the most value for the dollar when making a big-ticket purchase like a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

With that in mind, Seek out and find experts who truly care. Here are some answers to common questions about adaptive mobility equipment.

Can I just go to a car dealer down the street or do I need a certified mobility dealer?

Certified mobility dealers will help you buy the right vehicle and adaptive mobility equipment to meet your needs now and in the future. Future planning is especially important for people with muscle diseases that get progressively worse over time.

“Technology has improved tremendously over the years so there are numerous products available. Our goal is to help people find the right equipment that best fits their needs,” says Jim Sanders, president of Automotive Innovations based in Bridgewater, MA for over 25 years.

“Many times, consumers will go to a car dealer and buy a vehicle that can’t be modified or one that doesn’t fit their needs. And once you buy a vehicle, normally it’s very difficult to return.”

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), a nonprofit organization that provides consumer guidance and ensures quality and professionalism in the manufacturing and installation of mobility equipment. Members include mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers, driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals.

NMEDA member-dealers must follow the safety standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in addition to NMEDA’s own stringent guidelines.

Some dealers choose to enroll in NMEDA’s Quality Assurance Program (QAP), which requires them to adhere to national motor vehicle safety standards, and use proven quality control practices to yield the highest level of performance and safety. Automotive Innovations was the First Mobility Dealer in Massachusetts to enroll and exceed the safety standards.

“The QAP dealer is audited by an outside engineering firm to verify that technicians have been trained and that the dealer has insurance and make sure the facility is ADA-compliant,” which means the QAP dealer is going above and beyond.

 

Can I get a better price if I buy online rather than from a dealer?

As with any online shopping, the warning “buyer beware” rings true. Buying online without trying out different vehicles with different conversions can be a costly mistake. Furthermore there are many grey market converted vans being offered as quality conversions.

Online, you are mostly shopping blind. Typically you will have no idea how the vehicle you need will work for you, even with specific recommendations from a driver evaluator or occupational therapist.

“You definitely shouldn’t buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle online, most online sellers are not qualified Mobility Dealers attempting to assess your needs, they’re just car dealers trying to sell you something.”

Some online dealers even have questionnaires on their websites to try and give you the idea your getting what you need. But, it will never replace being able to go to a local mobility dealership and try the vans out first hand.

A mobility vehicle is probably the second-largest purchase after a house. You should see it, try it out, and make sure it’s something that will work for you and your family. It’s horrible when people spend so much an a vehicle that will never work for them.

Every vehicle is a little bit different — such as in the dimensions, electrical and fuel systems, or suspension modifications. “If you go online and buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle based on the price, you’re not really looking at the total package.”

While buying online may be able to save you some money up front, it won’t over the long term.

In addition to you missing out on the important local service contact that a mobility equipment dealer provides, these online deals or grey market vans are worth much less when it comes time to trade it in.

 

What are some common mistakes people make when buying a modified vehicle?

Manufacturers and mobility dealers agree that one of the most common — and costly — mistakes is buying the vehicle first and then shopping for the conversion or adaptive mobility equipment. Not all vehicles can be converted.

For example, If you purchase a minivan from a traditional car dealership you can hit a roadblock if it doesn’t meet specific requirements to have the floor lowered for a rear- or side-entry conversion.

 

What are some good questions to ask a dealer or manufacturer?

Although buying a modified vehicle can be “a daunting experience,” says VMI’s Monique McGivney, it also can be “exciting and fun when you walk in armed with good questions and information.”

Prior to getting an assessment from a mobility dealer, evaluate your needs and try answering the following questions:

  • What vehicle will fit in my garage?
  • What kind of parking issues will I encounter where I live?
  • What is the size and weight of my wheelchair?
  • What is my seated height in the wheelchair?
  • How many people will ride in the vehicle?
  • In what part of the vehicle do I want to sit?
  • Will I be able to drive with hand controls?
  • Do I want a full-size van, minivan or alternative vehicle?
  • Do I want manual or power equipment?
  • Will an in-floor ramp or fold-out ramp meet my needs?
  • What is my budget, and do I have access to supplemental funding?

The first question most mobility dealers will ask you is: “What is your seated height in the wheelchair?” From there, the dealer can advise whether a full-size or minivan is appropriate, and what kind of conversion is needed.

Be sure to ask the dealer about the warranty and how the vehicle can be serviced.

Which Make and Model is the best for a handicapped accessible vehicle?

It honestly depends on what you fit into best and what options you prefer.

No two wheelchair accessible vehicles are the same. They vary in size, shape, color, features and design depending on the vehicle’s make and model. The only way to guarantee which is the best vehicle for you is if you come in and try them all out.

For example: The Honda has a little bit more room inside to maneuver a wheelchair than a Dodge, just as a Toyota has a bit more space than a Honda. A Ford offers more headroom than all of the above. But that all depends on the conversion and manufacturer.

Although color and features matter least to us, some find them just as important as fitting into the vehicle. Each Manufacturer offers their own color schemes, which you can look up on their websites. You can also search for what features you would prefer to have.

When you come into our Mobility Center we will help you find the vehicle that best fits you and your family’s needs. If you love the vehicle but not the color or features we can custom order a vehicle for you. That way we know you are buying a vehicle that best fits you and one that you are 100% happy with.

Which is better: rear entry or side entry?

The most important difference between a rear entry and side-entry conversion is that with a rear entry, wheelchair users can’t drive from their wheelchairs nor can they ride in the front passenger seat. From there, the choice comes down to personal preference and budget.

In recent years, because of quality, convenience and cost, there’s been a shift toward side entry vehicles. Rear entry is more of a frugal modification, involves a less of conversion process and is typically a little less expensive than a side-entry conversion.

Many people prefer side entry with an in-floor conversion for many safety reasons additionally  because they can park almost anywhere and not worry deploying the ramp out into traffic. Also, side entry allows the consumer to ride in the passengers front position along with maintain the rear seats in a minivan because the conversion doesn’t affect that area.

Rear entry is harder to get out of compared to a side-entry.

Anyway you look at it side-entry vehicles are more versatile. For example, side entry allows someone with a progressively worsening condition to use the vehicle for a longer period of time. A wheelchair user can start out driving from his or her chair, and then move to several other positions in the vehicle when no longer able to drive.

Side-entry conversions typically are a little more expensive than rear-entry because they’re more intrusive and labor intensive. For example, with a minivan, the entire floor and frame must be removed and replaced with a lowered floor and new frame.


What’s the difference between a fold-out ramp and in-floor ramp?

This decision comes down to safety, aesthetics, convenience and cost.

A fold-out ramp folds up into the vehicle, takes up valuable space in the passengers front area and must be deployed whenever the door is opened.

The in-floor ramp slides under the floor which makes riding in the vehicle safer for anyone seated in the passengers front position or the mid-ship position. There is no obstruction to the doorway so other passengers can enter and exit without deploying the ramp. In-floor ramps are currently only available as a side-entry minivan conversion, but they offer a manual (un-powered) option as well.

In-floor ramps in addition to being safer will generally provide more room in the vehicle because there’s nothing blocking the doorway. The ramp is “out of sight, out of mind” and may last longer because it doesn’t have to be deployed each time the side passenger door opens.

Fold-out ramps generally cost a little less than an in-floor ramp and consumers can select from manual and power versions; a power fold-out ramp still costs less than an in-floor ramp.

If an in-floor ramp system breaks down or the vehicle loses power, VMI’s in-floor ramp systems have a backup system (sure-deploy) that bypasses the vehicle’s battery.

A lot of people just feel more secure knowing there isn’t a fold-out ramp next to them in the event of a accident.

I use a wheelchair, but a van or minivan just isn’t “me.” Are they my only options?

You have other choices.

Lowered-floor conversions with fold-out ramps can be done on the Honda Element, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Toyota Scion. The conversions are small and don’t fit as many people.

Due to them being built on a much smaller scale, the ones we have seen have not been built with the same level of quality as the minivan conversion. Parts availability and repairs have been a problem, some of the companies that converted them are out of business and or have no support for “something they used to build”

If you prefer to keep your standard car rather than purchasing a modified vehicle — and can make the transfer from a wheelchair to a car seat — the answer may be as simple as a set of hand controls or a left foot gas pedal

Turning seats can be used in a wide range of vehicles, from sedans to SUVs and pickup trucks. A way to transport the wheelchair (like a rear lift) also is needed.

The rate at which your symptoms worsen is one thing to consider when looking at turning seats — is it likely you’ll be able to transfer and ride in a car seat for many more years? Also, be sure to check with a mobility dealer to determine if your vehicle can accommodate a turning seat and a wheelchair lift.

Why are modified vehicles so  expensive?

A vehicle conversion can cost consumers upwards of $27,000 —  and that’s just the cost for the conversion, not the vehicle. The total package can run between $45,000 and $80,000 — or more.

Besides the cost of the components, the reason it’s so pricey is that basically there is a lot of work involved to build a quality vehicle.

Modified vehicles from certified manufacturers and dealers must meet NHTSA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). That means all modified vehicles must be properly crash tested. (To learn more, visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov.)

It’s quite a labor-intensive process because of the customization. When you make structural modifications to a vehicle, you have to go through all of the crash testing, and you have to show that the vehicle is compliant again, and those tests are very expensive.

Most of the time lowering the floor in a minivan requires replacing or moving the fuel tank. Once the conversion is finished, the vehicle still has to meet the original requirements for evaporative emissions, in addition to NHTSA requirements.

How can I pay less?

You have  a few options.

You could cut costs by purchasing a pre-owned vehicle with a new conversion, typically saving you around $10,000 to $12,000.

The previous van owner already has absorbed the depreciation hit on a new van, which essentially occurs right after they’ve driven off the dealer’s lot.

Buying used can be beneficial for first-time buyers who want to try out a vehicle for a few years before buying new.

But if you plan to buy used, do some research and make sure the vehicle is structurally sound including the conversion. Ask for a vehicle history (CARFAX) report, and get the vehicle inspected by a mobility dealer to ensure it’s in good shape and was well taken care of.

Another tactic to help save you money is to ask your Certified Mobility Dealer about any rebates or financial aid options that could benefit you.

How do people manage to pay for it?

Many consumers used home equity loans to purchase a vehicle and adaptive equipment.

Many dealers and manufacturers work with lending institutions that offer extended-term financing, including 10-year loans, allowing consumers to make lower, more affordable monthly payments. The downside is that consumers are locked into the vehicle for 10 years, and end up paying more in interest.

If you finance for 10 years, and you’re not going to keep the vehicle for that amount of time, you’re going to lose money when you try to sell or trade it because you haven’t paid off much of the balance.

When you buy a new vehicle, many car manufacturers offer mobility reimbursement programs (up to $1,000) to help offset the cost for the purchase and installation of adaptive equipment.

A Little Extra Help: Adaptive Equipment for Those with Partial Disabilities

Some individuals with partial disabilities say they do not have a need for a fully wheelchair accessible van or truck and state they only need a bit of extra help. For those able to stand with or without assistance, turn, and walk a few steps, there are a number of simple, affordable solutions that can make the vehicle you already own more comfortable and accessible.

Turning Seating
Convenient and affordable, turning automotive seating can eliminate the need to twist and climb into vehicles. Seats can be adapted to automatically swivel over the door frame with the push of a button, allowing drivers or passengers to easily accommodate themselves without having to struggle to get inside. These solutions can be installed in nearly any vehicle, including tall trucks and SUVs. In these cases, the seat lowers to the driver or passenger’s preferred height, then lifts and turns back into the vehicle.

Wheelchair or Scooter Lifts/Carriers
For those who are able to transfer into a vehicle’s seats, whether they are automatic or not, a wheelchair or scooter lifts can stow their equipment in the trunk or roof of a car, back of a van or SUV, or bed of a pick-up truck. These systems can be fully automatic or manually powered, depending on the needs of the user.

Grab Bars and Assist Handles
Grab bars and assist handles can make it safer for those with partial disabilities to enter, exit and drive a vehicle. Extremely affordable and portable, these solutions can be incorporated into nearly any make or model in mere minutes.

Steering Aids
Modifications like low-effort steering and wheel attachments can make driving much easier for those with limited upper body mobility, arthritis, etc. From palm grips to tri-grip designs, spinner knobs and steering cuffs, there is an accessible option to meet every need.

Boston Abilities Expo 2014

Boston Abilities Expo 2014

Abilities Expo is a CELEBRATION of what you CAN DO

Imagine everything you need, all under one roof! For more than 30 years, Abilities Expo has been the go-to source for the Community of people with disabilities, their families, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals. Every event opens your eyes to new technologies, new possibilities, new solutions and new opportunities to change your life. Where else can you discover ability-enhancing products and services, play a few adaptive sports, learn new dance moves, attend informative workshops and only scratch the surface of what Abilities Expo has to offer? Register for free today.

How to Choose the Right Mobility Vehicle for You

With several mobility vehicle options available, how do you know which one is going to be the best fit for you?

Most vehicles can be modified with hand controls, foot pedals and adaptive equipment to make driving easier for someone who has limited mobility. While those modifications help you drive, they don’t actually help you get into the vehicle. Picking the right mobility vehicle should start with entry.

When you use a wheelchair to get around, it’s important you have a vehicle that allows you to get in and out in the most convenient way possible. If you have good upper-body strength and can’t stand the thought of driving a van, you may be able to get by using a sedan or coupe – at least for a little while. If you use a large power chair that won’t fit in the back seat of a car or have no one to help you get it there even if it could, a full-size or minivan might be more appropriate.

To find out the differences between mobility vehicles so you can pick the right one for you, consider the benefits and disadvantages of each type below.

Sedans and Coupes
Having a sedan or coupe usually means you have to transfer from your wheelchair to the car seat, which can put a lot of strain on your arms and shoulders – or those of your caregiver. When you think about a long-term solution, having to transfer and load a wheelchair for many years may not be practical. Not only that, but if the weather isn’t ideal (snow, rain, excessive heat), this all becomes even more difficult. Standard cars can have motorized lifts or platforms attached to them, but those are generally just for loading a wheelchair in the back or trunk and don’t help with your transfer.

While cars might not be the most practical solution for all wheelchair users, many people still choose them because they are more stylish than a van and tend to be less expensive. The cost of the vehicle with gas is generally less on an unconverted sedan or coupe than a converted van. Plus, if you already own a car, getting assistive equipment is cheaper than buying a brand new mobility vehicle.

SUVs
SUVs are similar to sedans and coupes in that they usually require a transfer from the wheelchair to the car seat. That means they don’t work for wheelchair users without much upper-body strength or strong caregivers, especially since SUVs sit higher and the transfer involves more lifting. SUVs also don’t have a lot of interior space and may not fit larger wheelchairs – even in the trunk.

One of the major benefits of having an accessible SUV is the All-Wheel Drive feature, which makes driving in inclement weather a little bit safer, especially when hand controls are used.

Minivans
Wheelchair-accessible minivans are one of the most practical options for someone with limited mobility. Converted minivans usually come with a ramp system and automatic sliding door to make entry and exit into the vehicle easy – without having to leave your wheelchair. This makes getting in and out much quicker and puts almost no stress on the body of the wheelchair user or caregiver. In addition, some wheelchair-accessible minivans offer different seating options so you can sit in the front and avoid feeling like cargo.

Converted minivans are one of the most convenient options, as they are large enough to fit a wheelchair user, but not so large they may be hard to drive and park for if you have limited mobility. While these might be the perfect solution for many wheelchair users, some people don’t like the idea of driving a minivan and you always have to park with enough space on the side to lower the ramp.

Full-Size Vans
Full-size mobility vans are a great option for larger wheelchair users or those in heavy power chairs. While these vehicles offer the most space, having a full-size van also usually means you use a lift, which takes up space inside the vehicle and may rattle around when you drive. Lift operation may also take longer than that of a ramp and often requires the assistance of another person. Having a lift, however, does make loading and unloading possible without having to transfer from the wheelchair.

While each type of mobility vehicle has its perks and drawbacks, it’s important to find the one that works best for you. It is critical to find a reliable wheelchair-accessible vehicle or adaptive equipment manufacturer so you get a product that will last. If you need additional assistance in determining which option is ideal for you, talk to an authorized mobility dealer and ask for a demo of the vehicles that interest you.

Teens with Disabilities: Learning to Drive A Handicap Accessible Vehicle

The majority of teenage kids will assert that learning to drive not only makes for an exciting experience but also marks a very important moment in life – moving a step closer towards achieving independence. Teens living with a disability are not exempt from this feeling. When it’s time to teach your child to drive, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure your child’s safety and the safety of others on the road.

Regardless of your age, preparedness is essential when it comes to driving. For those living with disabilities, the process of how you prepare can be slightly different, but it is certainly equally as important. Teens and new drivers with disabilities must complete a drivers’ assessment prior to beginning lessons in order to determine what sort of adaptive equipment or techniques he or she must use while driving. Steering aids, hand controls, or ramps/lifts may be necessary for your teen to be ready to get behind the wheel and recommendations will be made by the assessment administrator (most often by a certified driver rehabilitation specialist) after a proper exam.

While some teens will require little additional equipment in order to operate a vehicle, others may need more thorough vehicle conversions. If purchasing a new handicap accessible vehicle is not in your budget, there are used options available to suit your child’s needs, as well as rentals and loaners made available by some driving schools.

Qualified driving specialists will be able to relay information on your state’s driving laws for people with disabilities, how to operate the vehicle, as well as how to get in and out of the car without additional assistance, should they need to do so.

Throughout this journey towards adulthood, it’s vital that you remain your teen’s number one fan. A supporting and encouraging environment can dramatically improve your child’s outlook on taking on the road, raising their self-confidence and making them an overall better driver. Remember, learning how to drive takes time, but with your support, the expertise of driving coaches and the accessibility of a modified vehicle, your teen will be on his or her way to being a licensed driver!

Adaptive Q&A

With such a wide variety of adaptive vehicle equipment available, selecting the appropriate features or modifications can become big task. In an effort to facilitate this process, here are the responses to some of the most frequently asked mobility equipment questions.

Are ramps difficult to operate?
Most vans equipped with side-entry mobility equipment are fully automatic. The seamless loading and unloading process can be as simple as pushing a button. Vans can be converted to automatically open their doors, lower to the curb and deploy or stow a ramp without the driver or passengers needing to work with any equipment. Manual options are also available, however these are also very easy to use. Built with springs that carry most of the ramp’s weight, manual ramp options are also quick, safe and simple to use solutions.

Can I drive from my wheelchair?
In many cases, it is possible for drivers with disabilities and the need for a wheelchair to avoid transferring by properly securing their chair and themselves within the vehicle. With the use of both a wheelchair tie-down system and occupant restraints, driving from a wheelchair can be a safe and convenient option.

Can I drive from my scooter?
Operating or riding a vehicle from scooter is not recommended. In order to remain safe while traveling, passengers or drivers in scooters should always transfer into vehicle seating. Turning or swivel seats can make the transfer process easier and less demanding on those with limited mobility or access to caregiver assistance. Scooters should also be properly secured with a tie-down system to prevent movement in case of a sudden stop or turn.

Side entry vs. rear entry – which is best for me?
There are a few things to consider when deciding between a side entry and a rear entry vehicle. Passengers who are not going to be driving the vehicle typically use rear entry vehicles. Side entry vehicles work well for drivers and co-pilots getting in to the front of the vehicle, as well as passengers. Depending on the parking conditions of your regularly visited establishments, your vehicle’s entry points may need to be redefined. If you often need to parallel park or live in a region that experiences recurring inclement weather, a side-entry vehicle will prove to be a better option for your needs. These are only a few of the deciding factors when it comes to choosing between side and rear-entry.

Can someone else drive my vehicle if I install hand controls?
In most cases, both able-bodied drivers and those with disabilities can comfortably operate vehicles adapted with hand controls. Most hand controls do not interfere with the way a manufacturer intended the vehicle to be driven.

Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike

Yesterday, July 13, 2014, The Boston Wounded Vets MC Run (They Fought, We Ride) presented a brand new Harley Davidson 2014 trike to wounded Soldier Andy Kingsley from Athol.

The trike was purchased by Monies raised by the Boston Wounded Vets Motorcycle ride.
The Mobility & Adaptive Equipment was installed by us, VMi New England.

Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike1 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike2 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike9 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike10 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike11 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike3 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike12 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike4 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike13 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike5 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike14 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike6 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike7 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike15 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike16 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike8 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike17 Boston Wounded Vet MC Ride presents Andy Kingsley his New 2014 Modified Trike18

Funding Assistance

Where to Turn for Help Funding an Adaptive Vehicle
For most individuals seeking to increase their mobility and freedom through the use of an adaptive vehicle, financial struggles and worries can make the search a trying time. Luckily, there are a number of opportunities for those in need of economic assistance in the form of state grants, charitable organizations and manufacturer rebate programs, to name a few.

OEM Rebate Programs
When looking to cut your costs, vehicle manufacturer programs that provide monetary incentives are a great option. With credits of up to $1,000 being offered to families or individuals with disabilities purchasing an adaptive vehicle, this type of rebate can give you the economic boost you need to get back on the road.

State Grants
Each state provides financial aid to individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. From charitable organizations to groups that specialize in making mobility more affordable, opportunities for economic assistance can often be found in your own backyard. Find assistance programs in your area here.

Veterans Administration
Qualified service members and Veterans may be eligible for assistance towards the purchase of a wheelchair accessible vehicle or adaptive equipment. For more information visit click here.

Public Assistance
For those in need of an accessible or adaptive vehicle in order to get to school or work, those institutions may be able to provide assistance in the purchase of transportation.

Special Financing
Many dealerships offer competitive rates and custom-structured programs specially configured for those trying to purchase an accessible vehicle or mobility equipment. Financing options t can provide a more affordable solution to purchasing the vehicle you need.

While purchasing an accessible vehicle can open many doors when it comes to added freedom and mobility, many of us may need additional assistance in affording such a vehicle. In such cases, don’t forget to get to know your options. Getting on the road in an adaptive car or van may be easier than you think!

Everyday Mobility Aids

Having a disability can make getting around and doing everyday activities difficult. Simple things like taking a shower, going to the store or even moving around your house can be a challenge for someone with limited mobility.

Getting a wheelchair or scooter is usually the first step, but there are several other mobility aids that either work in tandem or in addition to those to help you do the things you need to do. Once you have a wheelchair or scooter, there are upgrades you can make to your home to increase wheelchair accessibility there, but those don’t necessarily give you additional mobility. If you are looking to gain better mobility both inside and outside of your house, try any of the mobility equipment options below.

Transfer Board or Slider
While going out is often a major challenge, sometimes getting around within your house may be even more difficult. Getting onto a bed from a wheelchair, for example, requires strength, time and often another person. Luckily, there are transfer boards or sliders available to help facilitate the process. Wheelchair users place one end of the board under them on their wheelchair seat and slide across to the other end, which is set on their destination.

Bath Lifts
Bath lifts help those with limited leg mobility get into the bathtub. They attach to the tub and act as a seat for the wheelchair user to transfer to when they are ready to bathe. Once the user is sitting on the lift, it swings around and lowers within the tub. When the user is ready to get out, the seat can raise back up and out, preventing dangerous slipping. Other, simpler bath accessories include bath chairs, which act more as transfer seats that extend past the tub so the wheelchair user can safely slide across and under a shower head without using too much strength.

While living with a disability may make performing certain tasks more difficult, mobility equipment is available to help ease these challenges. Check online or with a mobility equipment dealer to find out where you can get these mobility aids.

Mobility Vehicles
If you use a wheelchair and don’t have a mobility vehicle, going anywhere can be a challenge. These are more expensive than many other types of mobility equipment, but there are plenty of options — and you may even be eligible for financial assistance. If you can’t afford to purchase a vehicle of your own, many dealers also offer rentals for much less.

Steering Aids
Whether you buy a mobility vehicle or simply transfer from your wheelchair to a car seat, you may need the ability to drive. There are different steering aids available to help you do so, depending on your abilities, including:

  • Steering Attachments: Extensions, such as knobs, gloves or balls, attach to the steering wheel to make it easy for those with limited arm function to turn the wheel with one hand or arm.
  • Foot Controls: Attachments on the ground give those with limited use of their hands the ability to steer and control the vehicle with their feet.
  • Loosened Steering: Drivers without adequate upper body strength can turn the wheel without requiring much effort with a simple steering modification.
  • Automatic Controls: A driver with limited leg mobility can steer, accelerate and brake with their hands using one piece of equipment that can be mounted in the driver’s area.

VMI at the 2014 AOTA Conference

VMI was an exhibitor at the 94th annual AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) Conference that was held in Baltimore, MD. VMI took the opportunity to display out latest wheelchair accessible van that was designed for Caregivers. Many OT’s took the opportunity to try out the new Northstar E ramp system in the VMI booth. We look forward to seeing everyone next year!

VMI at the 2014 AOTA Conference

VMI was an exhibitor at the 94th annual AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) Conference that was held in Baltimore, MD. VMI took the opportunity to display out latest wheelchair accessible van that was designed for Caregivers. Many OT’s took the opportunity to try out the new Northstar E ramp system in the VMI booth. We look forward to seeing everyone next year! www.vmivans.com / 855-VMI-VANS

How to adapt your pre-owned vehicle to meet your needs after a stroke

VMi New England Wheelchair vans & ramp:Lift options
Easy Car Makeovers for Adaptive Driving

Driving after a stroke is often a major concern for survivor’s and their loved ones. It prompts many questions about ability, safety and vehicle options. Often times, the physical disadvantages that result from stroke can compromise a survivor’s ability to operate their vehicle.

Advances in the vehicle modification industry have introduced new driving controls that are giving independence back to stroke survivors that want to drive. They allow them to get back behind the wheel in their own vehicle to go where they want to go, when they want to go.

Innovative vehicle modifications such as hand controls, left-foot accelerators, lifts and mobility seating can transform your personal vehicle into a vehicle that give you more freedom.

Mobility equipment dealers strive to remain at the forefront of the vehicle modification industry by providing cutting-edge technology and a full selection of adaptable equipment for your pre-owned vehicle.


Hand Controls For Stroke Survivors with Limited Use of their Feet

Automotive Innovations is New England’s  #1 hand control installation facility  manufacturer of hand controls and driving aids for the disabled. Hand control systems are specifically designed to give drivers the benefit of controlling a vehicle with both hands on the wheel making for a safer, smoother driving experience.

Unlike other manual and or servo hand control installers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, we have the ability to offer a custom fitment to your vehicle and you, for everything from a Fiat 500 to a Lamborghini Aventador no one else has the master craftsman, machining equipment and facility capable of performing a custom installation the way we can.

Push Rock hand controls have a handle in a vertical position; accelerating by rocking back in an arching motion using the fingers and/or the palm. There are several additional options to choose from:

  • Spinner knob: Attached to the steering wheel to allow controlled steering with use of one hand.
  • Single Pin: As an alternative to the spinner knob, this hand control was designed for clients that cannot open their hand fully.
  • Tri Pin: Great for an independent driver. It requires minimal gripping strength and/or reduced wrist stability.
  • V-Grip: This attachment is intended for drivers with moderate gripping strength.
  • Steering Wheel Extension: This device is individually customizable, so you can pick a diameter and height that best suits your needs. The easily removable device is completely compatible with any OEM steering wheel.

Servo electronic mobility controls offers driving control products that are safe and provide piece of mind every time you are on the road.

  • Lever:  A gas/brake input with adjustable levels of force and travel from the full gas to the full brake position.
    • It is designed for customers that have a wider range of motion and a larger effort level.
  • One handed steering and gas brake:  A input that you can steer that is available in a two-axis configuration for gas/brake and steering It has a adjustable range of motion and very low levels  of force to operate.
    • It is designed and custom build for each customers specific range of motion and abilities.
  • Wheel:  A steering input that can be adjusted to less than 2 oz of force at the proper orthotic position of 3 3/8” from center.
    • It is also able to be adaptable for customers that have a wider range of motion.

Left-foot Accelerator

Automotive Innovations’ offers the best left foot gas pedals with unmatched installations.  Left-foot accelerators are designed to offer a left foot gas pedal which acts exactly like your vehicle’s existing gas pedal. Our Left foot gas pedals are removable with features like a quick-release base so the entire assembly can be removed and re-installed quickly and easily.

 

Lifts for Stroke Survivors that use Wheelchairs or Walkers
Automotive Innovations can offer more solutions for the transportation of your mobility device than any other dealership in New England.

“Its worth the drive, I live in the western part of Massachusetts and will never trust my van with anyone other than Automotive Innovations. They have been taking care of me and my vans since 1996. When a company comes through for you time and time again whats that worth? For me it’s priceless and the drive is irrelevant.”
– Chris P Whately, MA

  • Scooter & Wheelchair Lifts while not always practical they do work in all types of vehicles. These fold-down wheelchair and scooter lifts make lifting and storing your manual folding wheelchair or scooter possible.


Mobility Seating

The mobility transfer seat is an innovative system for lower vehicles which can provide easer  access to an automotive seat. The seat power rotates out over the doorsill, bridging the gap for a safe transfer onto the seat. These seats are not always practical for every type of vehicle

Our goal is to match your lifestyle and your vehicle with equipment that will deliver independence.


Finding a Dealer That’s Up to Standards

Hand controls, left-foot accelerator, lifts and mobility seating offers opportunities for the stroke survivor to regain their mobility freedom in their pre-owned vehicle. You have just found the best mobility dealer in all of New England that offers a ever evolving selection of adaptable equipment.

It is important to select a reputable dealer to provide the adaptable equipment and installation for your pre-owned vehicle.

  1. Are they members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has vehicle conversion standards?
  2. Are they Quality Assurance Program (QAP) certified?
  3. Do they provide ongoing service and maintenance?
  4. Do they provide 24/7 emergency service?
  5. Do they provide training on the adaptable equipment?
  6. Can the equipment be transferred to a new vehicle in the future?

The Importance of Servicing Your Wheelchair Van and Adaptive Equipment

The Importance of Servicing Your Wheelchair Van and Adaptive Equipment
Owning any type of vehicle means that you have to commit to regular service and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Owning a wheelchair van and adaptive equipment is no different – you still need regular service to keep everything operating the way it should. However, it comes with some additional caveats – you can’t just go to any service center and ensure that you’re maintaining your wheelchair van or mobility equipment correctly.

Here at our Mobility Center, not only do we understand the importance of maintaining your mobility vehicle and adaptive equipment, but we take the needed steps to ensure that everything is always in top condition. No other mobility dealer (that we know of) offers the level of maintenance offered by us.

For example, we can maintain primary and secondary driving controls, as well as providing service for wheelchair ramps and scooter lifts. Along with power seat bases, power door operators, wheelchair securement systems and other adaptive equipment. Those are only a few of the areas that our certified technicians can service and maintain. We also have a rust prevention/treatment that we highly recommend.

You’ll also find that we offer installation as well as service for a range of adaptive equipment like lowered floors, raised doors, adaptive steering controls, turning automotive seats and hand controls. All of our technicians are fully certified in mobility equipment so that you always know you’re in good hands with us.

Automotive Innovations has also created a innovative and ever evolving maintenance program over the past 25 years for our customers. We know that making sure your vehicle and adaptive equipment is in good condition is important to you, but we also understand that it can be difficult for you to tell when or if something needs service or repair. That’s why we started our operational preventative maintenance program over 20 years ago. This program ensures that your wheelchair van or mobility equipment is always in the best operational condition possible, but also assesses the need for repairs or replacement most of the time before anything happens.

We’re dedicated to giving you the peace of mind that you deserve and the maintenance you need to maintain your freedom at all times.

 

Driving with Paralysis


The first step in the process of learning to drive with paralysis is to get a thorough evaluation from a qualified driver trainer to determine your basic driving set-up, specific modifications, and driving equipment. An evaluation includes vision screening and assesses muscle strength, flexibility and range of motion; coordination and reaction time; judgment and decision making; and ability to drive with adaptive equipment.

To find a qualified evaluator, contact us today (508-697-6006) we maintain a list of certified specialists throughout the New England area.

As for getting a drivers license, states require a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license to receive an on-the-road evaluation. You cannot be denied the opportunity to apply for a permit or license because you have a disability, but you may receive a restricted license, based on the use of adaptive devices.

Once you get the go-ahead from the evaluation, it’s time to think about the kinds of vehicles that suit your abilities and needs. Selecting a vehicle for modification requires collaboration with the evaluator and a qualified vehicle modification dealer. The following questions can help with vehicle selection and whether you can adapt a car you already own.

  • Does the necessary adaptive equipment require a van, or will a passenger car suffice (will you be driving from a wheelchair or can you transfer to the car seat? If you can transfer in and drive a car your choices are much wider.
  • Can the vehicle accommodate the equipment that needs to be installed?
  • Will there be enough space to accommodate other passengers once the vehicle is modified?
  • Is there adequate parking space at home and at work for the vehicle and for loading/unloading a wheelchair or walker?

If a third party is paying for the vehicle, adaptive devices, or modification costs, find out if there are any limitations or restrictions on what is covered. Always get a written statement on what a funding agency will pay before making your purchase.

The cost of modifying a vehicle varies greatly. A new vehicle modified with adaptive equipment can cost from $20,000 to $80,000. Therefore, it pays to investigate public and private opportunities for financial assistance.

There are programs that help pay part or all of the cost of vehicle modification, depending on the cause and nature of the disability. Contact your state’s department of Vocational Rehabilitation or another agency that provides vocational services, and, if appropriate, the Department of Veterans Affairs. Also, consider the following:

  • Many nonprofit associations that advocate for individuals with disabilities have grant programs that help pay for adaptive devices.
  • If you have private health insurance or workers’ compensation, you may be covered for adaptive devices and vehicle modification. Check with your insurance carrier.
  • Many manufacturers have rebate or reimbursement plans for modified vehicles.
  • Some states waive the sales tax for adaptive devices if you have a doctor’s prescription for their use.

You may be eligible for savings when submitting your federal income tax return. Check with a qualified tax consultant to find out if the cost of your adaptive devices will help you qualify for a medical deduction.

Find a qualified dealer to modify your vehicle. Ask questions, check credentials and references. Do they work with evaluators? Will they look at your vehicle before you purchase it? Do they require a prescription from a physician or other driver evaluation specialist? Do they provide training on how to use the equipment? Do they provide service? What is the cost? How long will it take to do the work? What is the warranty?

Grants and Funds Available for People with Disabilities:
 Listed by State



Alabama

  • People with developmental disabilities and their families may apply for Short-Term Assistance & Referral Programs (STAR) to address short-term needs, maximum of $2,500 per recipient. Used for: environmental modifications, adaptive equipment; services such as behavioral training, personal care, medical appointments. It also offers an alternative loan program. Contact: Helen Baker, 334-293-7012.

Alaska

  • The state of Alaska provides Developmental Disabilities (DD) Mini-Grants, maximum of $2,500/year for beneficiaries with disabilities with funding from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (AMHTA). Used for: unmet medical, dental, hearing, therapeutic equipment and services; home improvement needs. Contact: Amy Westfall, amyw@stonesoupgroup.org.
  • People with developmental disabilities and their families may apply for Short-Term Assistance & Referral Programs (STAR) to address short-term needs, maximum of $2,500 per recipient. Used for: environmental modifications, adaptive equipment; services such as behavioral training, personal care, medical appointments. It also offers an alternative loan program. Contact: Laurie Cooper, 907-465-3135,laurie.cooper@alaska.gov.
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Alaska may provide funding for those living in Alaska. Contact: 907-562-7347.
  • Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA) provides support to paralyzed veterans. Contact: Northwest Chapter of PVA, 800-336-9782.

Arizona

  • Arizona Loan$ for Assistive Technology (AzLAT) provides two financial loan programs for those with physical disabilities, AzLAT and S.E.E.D. Loan$ to support self-employed entrepreneurs with disabilities. Loans range from $500 to $10,000 Contact: Pamela Alcala, 602-776-4670, pamela.alcala@nau.edu.
  • The Arizona Technology Access  Program (AzTAP) provides a network for people with disabilities to find adapted equipment or assistive technology (AT) in the hands of someone who can benefit it. These are listed by individuals; some items are listed as free, others do have an associated cost.

Arkansas

  • Independent Choices focuses on helping adults with physical disabilities receive direct care in the home. They may provide funding support. Contact: 800-682-0044.

California

  • Access for Athletes – Challenged Athletes Foundation offers grants for athletes with physical disabilities. Grants are awarded to purchase equipment including sports wheelchairs, handcycles, mono skis and sports prosthetics. Contact: JulieAnne White, 858-210-3506, julieanne@challengedathletes.org.

Colorado

  • University of Colorado Denver services the AT Funding $ources website, which helps those with physical disabilities in Colorado find state and county funding opportunities. Searchable by age, disability, county and area of need. Contact: 800-255-3477, at@at-partners.org.


Connecticut


Delaware

  • The Adam Taliaferro Foundation provides financial support to student-athletes who are injured in sanctioned team events. Contact: ostrumg@yahoo.com.
  • The Specialized Services Fund (SSF) from DSAAPD provides funding to help those with physical disabilities with the costs of transportation, home modification and AT devices. Maximum lifetime funds: $10,000. Contact: New Castle County, 302-453-3820; Kent & Sussex Counties, 302-424-7310.

District of Columbia

  • Assistive Technology Program offers various resources to help people with physical disabilities find technology to improve their quality of life. It includes funding opportunities as well as resources to find the right solutions. Contact: 202-547-0918.

Florida

  • The Millennium Angel Foundation provides grants to those who have a physical disability because of an accident. Contact: 800-573-8853, angelfoundation@msettlements.com.

Georgia

  • Tools for Life offers a variety of services to ensure those with physical disabilities have access to technology in their lives. Programs include demonstrations, funding opportunities, reuse program, evaluations and assessments. Contact: 404-638-0390, info@gatfl.org.

Hawaii

  • Assistive Technology Resource of Hawaii offers various resources to help people with physical disabilities find technology to improve their quality of life. It includes funding opportunities as well as resources to find the right solutions. Contact: 808-532-7110.

Idaho

  • Idaho Assistive Technology Project provides assistive technology resources for those with physical disabilities in Idaho. Resources include financing, exchange program and training. Contact: 208-885-6097,sueh@uidaho.edu.
  • The University of Idaho offers Operation Education for military veterans who have been disabled in service. It offers scholarships and funding opportunities for college. Contact: 208-885-9026,operationeducation@uidaho.edu.
  • The Arlen B. Crouch Foundation may offer funding for those with physical disabilities. Contact: 208-324-3117.


Illinois

  • The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation offers the Brighter Tomorrow Grant to provide goods/services to improve quality of life of those with disabilities. Max award of $1,000. Contact: 1-888-MSFOCUS.
  • Illinois’ Cystic Fibrosis Foundation offers a scholarship for young adults with disabilities that wish to further their education after high school. Contact: 847-328-0127, mkbcfsf@aol.com.

Indiana

  • Indiana Assistive Technology Act provides alternate funding options for assistive technology equipment and services. In addition, the office provides device training and loans. Contact: 888-466-1314.

Iowa

  • In partnership with the University of Iowa, the Iowa Program for Assistive Technology offers funding, training and other programs to help those with physical disabilities obtain assistive technology equipment and services. Contact: 319-356-4463.

Kansas

  • The Kansas Assistive Technology Cooperative (KATCO) is an organization run by consumers that coordinates and provides finances for the purchase of assistive technology services and equipment to help people with disabilities gain economic and functional independence. Contact: 866-465-2826.
  • Assistive Technology for Kansans provides financing options for assistive technology equipment. It also offers device training and “try out” programs. Contact: 800-KAN-DOIT.

Kentucky

Louisiana

  • The Louisiana Assistive Technology Network provides loans, funding opportunities, training and other programs to provide assistive technology equipment and services to those with physical disabilities. Contact: 225-925-9500.


Maine

  • Multiple Sclerosis Society – Maine Chapter provides funding for software, tools and durable medical equipment. Contact: 800-344-4867, info@msmaine.org.
  • Keep Seniors Home provides funding to help seniors with mobility issues as they age. Funding is available for home modifications and renovations. Contact: 207-645-3764.


Maryland


Massachusetts

  • Travis Roy Foundation offers individual grants to help those with spinal cord injuries. The funds can be used to upgrade and maintain equipment, including vehicles. Contact: 617-619-8257.
  • MassMatch provides funding opportunities for assistive technology. It also offers programs including device training and equipment loans. Contact: 617-204-3851.


Michigan

  • The Michigan Assistive Technology Program provides training, funding opportunities and other programs to help those with physical disabilities obtain assistive technology equipment and services. Contact: 517-333-2477.

Minnesota

  • The STAR Program offers funding resources for those with physical disabilities to obtain assistive technology equipment and services. Contact: 651-201-2640.

Mississippi

  • The Mississippi Assistive Technology Division provides training, funding opportunities and other programs to help those with physical disabilities obtain assistive technology equipment and services. Contact: 800-443-1000.

Missouri

  • Missouri Assistive Technology provides funding opportunities, device loans and training programs for those with physical disabilities. Contact: 816-655-6700, moat1501@att.net.

Montana

  • MonTech provides funding opportunities, device loans and training programs for those with physical disabilities. Contact: 406-243-5751, montech@ruralinstitute.umt.edu.

Nebraska

  • Assistive Technology Partnership provides funding opportunities, device loans and training programs for those with physical disabilities. Contact: 888-806-6287.

Nevada

  • The Assistive Technology for Independent Living provides funding and resources for assistive technology equipment and services for those with physical disabilities. The organization offers other programs, including training. Contact: Northern Nevada, 775-353-3599; Southern Nevada, 702-333-1038.

New Hampshire

  • Assistive Technology in New Hampshire offers funding opportunities for those with physical disabilities. Funding can be used for assistive technology equipment, services, etc. It also offers training and other programs. Contact: 603-862-4320.

New Jersey

  • The Adam Taliaferro Foundation provides financial support to student-athletes who are injured in sanctioned team events. Contact: ostrumg@yahoo.com.
  • The Assistive Technology Center provides funding resources for those with physical disabilities who wish to obtain assistive technology equipment or services. Contact: 888-322-1918.

New Mexico

  • New Mexico Technology Assistance Program offers loans, donation programs, training and other resources to help those with physical disabilities. The program focuses on helping those with disabilities obtain the assistive technology they need. Contact: 505-425-3690.

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

  • Oklahoma Assistive Technology Center offers resources so people with disabilities are able to obtain assistive technology. The agency offers programs including funding and training. Contact: 405-271-3625.

Oregon

  • Assistive Technology offers resources so people with disabilities are able to obtain assistive technology. The agency offers programs including funding and training. Contact: 541-440-4791.
  • Incight Education offers a scholarship for those with disabilities. The scholarship is used for those who are full-time students at a trade school, college or university. Contact: 971-244-0305.
  • The Blanche Fischer Foundation provides grants to those with physical disabilities residing in the state of Oregon. To be considered, residents must show a financial need for funding relating directly to the disability. Grants can be used to pay for disability equipment, access ramps and transportation to related conferences. Â Contact: 503-819-8205.
  • Mobility Unlimited helps those with physical disabilities obtain mobility equipment so they are able to live independently as well as maintain employment. Contact: 877-516-0605.

Pennsylvania

  • The Adam Taliaferro Foundation provides financial support to student-athletes who are injured in sanctioned team events. Contact: ostrumg@yahoo.com.
  • Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation offers resources so people with disabilities are able to obtain assistive technology. The agency offers programs including funding and training. Contact: 484-674-0506.

Rhode Island

  • Assistive Technology Access Partnership offers resources so people with disabilities are able to obtain assistive technology. The agency offers programs including funding and training. Contact:requests@ors.ri.gov.

South Carolina

South Dakota

  • DakotaLink offers resources so people with disabilities are able to obtain assistive technology. The agency offers programs including funding and training. Contact: 803-645-0673.

Tennessee

Texas

  • Texas Assistive Technology Network offers resources so people with disabilities are able to obtain assistive technology. The agency offers programs including funding and training. Contact: 713-744-6559.

Utah

  • Utah Assistive Technology Program offers resources so people with disabilities are able to obtain assistive technology. The agency offers programs including funding and training. Contact: 435-797-9032.

Vermont

Virginia

  • Virginia Assistive Technology System offers resources so people with disabilities are able to obtain assistive technology. The agency offers programs including funding and training. Contact: 804-662-9990.

Washington

West Virginia

  • West Virginia Assistive Technology System offers resources so people with disabilities are able to obtain assistive technology. The agency offers programs including funding and training. Contact: 304-293-4692.

Wisconsin

Wyoming

  • Daniel’s Fund offers scholarships to help individuals with disabilities fund college. Scholarship amounts vary. Contact: 307-673-1987.
  • WIND Assistive Technology Resources offers resources so people with disabilities are able to obtain assistive technology. The agency offers programs including funding and training. Contact: 888-989-9463.

Connecticut Mobility Rebate Resources

Connecticut Disability Grants and Funds for Wheelchair Vans

Financial Aid Resources for Handicap Vans for Connecticut (CT) Residents
Welcome to your page for discovering disability grant possibilities for Connecticut residents. The organizational bodies below were carefully accumulated by The Mobility Resource as places for you to find funding or to receive assistance in finding funding for your new or used wheelchair van. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to buy or to install accessibility equipment like a wheelchair or scooter ram, lift, outwardly pivoting seats, or adaptive driving controls. Disability grants can help with the cost of any of it.

As you set out to uncover Connecticut-based financial aid resources, start with the state government agencies and other groups listed below. All can help with your dream of acquiring a handicap van for increased independence, self-determination, freedom and standard of living.

Remember, too, that there are foundations and organizations dedicated to your disability. Most are national, but maintain chapters in Connecticut. Contact these branches to learn about their disability grants and other funding sources they may know of.

Sources for Connecticut Disability Grants and Assistance:

Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS), State of Connecticut

Connecticut’s BRS is funded federally by the US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and the Rehabilitation Services Administration. Its goal is to help the state’s disabled find and maintain employment. It offers disability grants for those requiring special transportation to go into work and other support.

Department of Social Services
25 Sigourney Street, 11th Floor
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 424-4844 or toll free (800) 537-2549
brs.dss@ct.gov

Connect-Ability

Connect-Ability uses federal funds to improve access to employment for Connecticut’s disabled population. It works to break down the barriers that stand between the disabled and a rewarding job. This includes helping with transportation hurdles, and the group can help you get a handicapped-accessible van if you need it.

(866) 844-1903
info@connect-ability.com
Connecticut Aging and Disabilities Resource Centers (ADRCs)
ADRCs, operated jointly by the US Administration on Community Living and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, are major resources for senior citizens and persons with disabilities across the country. Offices are located all around the state.

Connecticut Association of Area Agencies on Aging (C4A)

C4A is comprised of five offices serving Connecticut’s elderly population. Direct funding tends to go to groups, not individuals, but the Agency can steer you toward appropriate funding sources for your accessible vehicle.

Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities (CDD)
The Connecticut CDD works tirelessly to provide access to education, meaningful work and community life for people with developmental disabilities. If you or a family member has a condition classified as a developmental disability, the Council may help fund your wheelchair van with a grant.
460 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106-1308
(860) 418-6160 or  (800) 653-1134

Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA)
VAs around the nation work to support our veterans. If you’re a disabled veteran living in Connecticut, this is your source for help. The VA often awards grants to meet the mobility needs of veterans injured in the line of duty. Money may also be available if you have a disability that was only aggravated during service, or if it came about during (or was exacerbated by) VA care.

287 West Street
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
(860) 616-3600

Connecticut Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC)

This is Connecticut’s branch of a nationwide organization set up by law to promote the principles of equal access and independent living for Americans with disabilities. The 23-member Council is appointed by the Governor, and consists of a majority of disabled Connecticut residents. This is a good resource when looking for sources of financial aid for your wheelchair van.

Suites 132 & 134,
151 New Park Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106

Connecticut Tech Act Project (CTTAP)
CTTAP is dedicated to getting assistive technology to the disabled and elderly Connecticut residents who need it for full participation in school, work and community life. They teach you how to use equipment and even lend it out temporarily, and they can help you secure financial aid for the assistive technologies you could benefit from.

25 Sigourney Street, 11th Floor
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 424-4881 or (800) 537-2549

New England Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Center
Persons with disabilities in Connecticut are served by The New England ADA Center, the area’s chapter of the National Network of ADA Centers. It endeavors to promote and strengthen the independence, self-determination, rights and quality of life of all state residents with a disability. This is an essential source of information and assistance while trying to locate all the disability grants for which you might qualify for acquiring a wheelchair van.
180-200 Portland Street

Suite 1
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 695-1225 or (800) 949-4232

Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation (OHHF)

OHHF is a nonprofit that awards grant money to Connecticut residents who have suffered a spinal cord injury. Disability grants are given to promote mobility, independence and access to education.

P.O.Box 2221
Darien, CT 06820
(888) 265-5859

These are only some of the resources available for Connecticut disability grants and assistance.
If you work with or know of another Connecticut agency or organization that should be listed here, please let us know.
Rehabilitation Services

Office of Rehabilitation Services
The Office of Rehabilitation Services helps people with disabilities become employed and live independently in the community. They provide a variety of programs and services to empower individuals with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Vocational Rehabilitation
The focus of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is to help people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Individuals who apply for this program are interested in becoming employed. If a person receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and they are interested in working, they are assumed to be eligible for this program.

Connecticut Disability Grants Handicap Funding CT
Buying a wheelchair van in Connecticut can be made financially easier through handicap funding, loans for the disabled, mobility finance programs, government assistance, and other accessible funding sources. Discover the largest directory of Connecticut disability grants to help cover the cost of buying a handicap van. AMS Vans is happy to deliver your handicap van to Connecticut and nationwide. Check Connecticut delivery prices for more details.

Disability Grants in Connecticut (CT)
The handicap grant foundations listed below may or may not provide funding for wheelchair vans to individuals. We have gathered this information from their respective websites as we work on building a list of disability grants and mobility resources. Please check with your local Connecticut disability funding program for complete details.

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
Awards hundreds of competitive grants and scholarships each year. In fact, in 2008, they distributed $8.9 million to hundreds of non-profit groups and students. Whether you’re seeking funding as an individual or on behalf of a non-profit organization, they welcome your interest in these opportunities.

How to Apply for Connecticut Disability Grants or Mobility Funding
Connecticut residents in search of handicap grants, mobility financing, disabled loans, government assistance, or other disability programs to buy a wheelchair van should contact any of the foundations listed. AMS Vans will work with one or more financial providers toward funding your wheelchair accessible van or vehicle conversion.

If you know of additional resources for Connecticut residents to find disability grants or other types of mobility funding, submit a foundation to AMS to help others who seek financing assistance.

The Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers a variety of training and adjustment services for individuals who are blind or who have significant visual impairments. The goal is to help them become independent, active, and self-sufficient members of their community. Services are available for children and adults.

Disability Determination Services
The Disability Determination Services unit determines the eligibility for children and adults with disabilities who are applying for cash benefits from the federal Social Security Administration’s programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Assistive Technology Access Partnership
The Office of Rehabilitation Services administers the Assistive Technology Access Partnership which can help individuals with disabilities get assistive technology devices and services.

Connecticut Disability Grants Handicap Funding CT
Buying a wheelchair van in Connecticut can be made financially easier through handicap funding, loans for the disabled, mobility finance programs, government assistance, and other accessible funding sources. Discover the largest directory of Connecticut disability grants to help cover the cost of buying a handicap van. AMS Vans is happy to deliver your handicap van to Connecticut and nationwide. Check Connecticut delivery prices for more details.

Disability Grants in Connecticut (CT)
The handicap grant foundations listed below may or may not provide funding for wheelchair vans to individuals. We have gathered this information from their respective websites as we work on building a list of disability grants and mobility resources. Please check with your local Connecticut disability funding program for complete details.

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
Awards hundreds of competitive grants and scholarships each year. In fact, in 2008, they distributed $8.9 million to hundreds of non-profit groups and students. Whether you’re seeking funding as an individual or on behalf of a non-profit organization, they welcome your interest in these opportunities.

How to Apply for Connecticut Disability Grants or Mobility Funding
Connecticut residents in search of handicap grants, mobility financing, disabled loans, government assistance, or other disability programs to buy a wheelchair van should contact any of the foundations listed. AMS Vans will work with one or more financial providers toward funding your wheelchair accessible van or vehicle conversion.

If you know of additional resources for Connecticut residents to find disability grants or other types of mobility funding, submit a foundation to AMS to help others who seek financing assistance.

Maine Mobility Rebate Resources

Maine Disability Grants and Funds for Wheelchair Vans

Financial Aid Resources for Handicap Vans for Maine (ME) Residents
If you reside in Maine, there is an array of available sources for disability grants. Money may be applied to various aspects of independence and living, including toward purchasing a new or used wheelchair van. Funds can also often be applied to buying and installing vehicle modifications for handicapped accessibility, including lowered floors and equipment that facilitates entry and exiting in a wheelchair or scooter, mobility equipment lifts and hand controls for adaptive driving capabilities.
Persons with physical disabilities in Maine can contact the following nonprofits and state government agencies for help. Some provide disability grants themselves, while others will point you in the right directions for financial aid. A handicap van is well within reach once you investigate assistance options.

In addition to the resources below, contact state branches of groups dedicated to helping people with your particular disability.

Sources for Maine Disability Grants and Assistance:
Alpha One

Alpha One is a Maine Center for Independent Living. It helps state residents with a variety of mobility impairments and other special needs achieve a more self-reliant lifestyle. The organization provides grants directly and serves as an essential information resource.

South Portland Office:
127 Main Street
South Portland, ME 04106
(207) 767-2189 or (800) 640-7200
Bangor Office:
11 Bangor Mall Blvd., Unit A
Bangor, ME 04401
 (207) 941-6553

Bureau of Maine Veterans Service
This is the Maine state government’s resource for veterans of a branch of the US military. Disabled veterans are entitled to numerous benefits, often including grants toward wheelchair vans or handicap accessibility equipment and conversions.

Veterans in Maine may also find their local US Department of Veterans Affairs, based in Togus at their website.

Maine Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs)
Maine’s ADRCs are scattered across the state, serving residents on a county-by-county basis. Use the link above to find your local office’s website and contact information. These Centers provide assistance and information to the elderly and people with disabilities.

Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)

AAA is a national program providing aid on a state-by-state basis. Local chapters serve groupings of counties. Maine’s Agencies assist the elderly with a variety of needs, including securing vans for people who rely on scooters or wheelchairs. Use the provided website to locate your branch’s website and contact information.

Maine CITE

This agency is run by the Maine Department of Education and funded by the US Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration. They facilitate the acquisition of all types of assistive technology for state residents with disabilities.

University College
46 University Drive
Augusta, Maine 04330 USA
(207) 621-3195
iweb@mainecite.org

Maine Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC)
Like all national DDCs, MDDC uses the Federally established definition of developmental disabilities. This group, a collection of individuals, families and agencies, is focused on promoting self-determination among state residents with developmental disabilities. Its services, assistance and information resources are many and varied.

139 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0139

(207) 287-4213 or (800) 244-3990

Maine Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

This sub-agency of the State of Maine’s Department of Labor, helps residents with disabilities secure employment. They can provide financial assistance and information for people with limited mobility who need a handicap van to hold down a job.

New England Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Centers

ADA Centers around the country help citizens with disabilities become more independent and fight to uphold their rights and quality of life. The New England chapter serves residents in this geographical area, including people in Maine.
180-200 Portland St., Suite 1
Boston, MA 02114

(617) 695-1225 or (800) 949-4232
ADAinfo@NewEnglandADA.org

Pine Tree Society (PTS)
PTS is a Maine-based nonprofit formed in 1936. It serves state residents with disabilities in many ways, including with the acquisition of assistive technologies.

P.O. Box 518
149 Front Street
Bath, Maine 04530
(207) 443-3341
info@pinetreesociety.org

These are only some of the resources available for Maine disability grants and assistance.
If you work with or know of another agency or organization in Maine that should be listed here, please let us know.
Rehabilitation Services

Office of Rehabilitation Services
The Office of Rehabilitation Services helps people with disabilities become employed and live independently in the community. They provide a variety of programs and services to empower individuals with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Vocational Rehabilitation
The focus of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is to help people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Individuals who apply for this program are interested in becoming employed. If a person receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and they are interested in working, they are assumed to be eligible for this program.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers a variety of training and adjustment services for individuals who are blind or who have significant visual impairments. The goal is to help them become independent, active, and self-sufficient members of their community. Services are available for children and adults.

Disability Determination Services
The Disability Determination Services unit determines the eligibility for children and adults with disabilities who are applying for cash benefits from the federal Social Security Administration’s programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Assistive Technology Access Partnership
The Office of Rehabilitation Services administers the Assistive Technology Access Partnership which can help individuals with disabilities get assistive technology devices and services.

Maine Disability Grants Handicap Funding ME
In order to receive handicap funding in Maine, many residents use multiple sources of mobility funds available in Maine, such as disability grants, handicap loans, government assistance, and other help. Discover the largest source of Maine disability grants to help cover some or all of the money to fund handicap vans or wheelchair van conversions. AMS Vans can provide delivery of your handicap van to Maine and nationwide.

Disability Grants in Maine (ME)
Maine disability grants may or may not allocate funding for wheelchair vans. Check with the local Maine grant provider for more details.

mPower Loans
The mPower loan fund, also known as the Kim Wallace Adaptive Equipment Loan Program, is a citizen-funded loan program offering low-interest loans of $240 to $100,000 to assist in purchasing a handicap van.

Maine Cite 
The Maine Cite provides information on benefits disabled people can receive, as well as a few resources to find financing for citizens of Maine interested in buying a wheelchair accessible van.

How to Apply for Maine Grants or Mobility Funding
Maine residents seeking assistance with the purchase of mobility van conversions should contact one or more mobility funding programs listed above about disability grants offered. Once complete, AMS Vans is happy to work with one or all mobility funding sources such as grants for the disabled, church money, government funds, veterans’ programs or other financial outlets you have acquired to aid in the purchase of your wheelchair van. Please submit any other mobility funding resources for Maine residents or nationwide to AMS, so we can build the most comprehensive database of financial assistance programs for people with disabilities.

New Hampshire Mobility Rebate Resources

New Hampshire Disability Grants and Funds for Wheelchair Vans

Financial Aid Resources for Handicap Vans for New Hampshire (NH) Residents
For elderly and disabled people in New Hampshire, grants are readily available from a variety of sources to fund—in part or in its entirety—a wheelchair van. Perhaps you’re looking to purchase or lease a used or new handicap van or perhaps you’re hoping to install conversions like a wheelchair ramp, a scooter lift or adaptive driving controls to make a van more handicapped friendly.

Whatever the case may be, numerous New Hampshire agencies, organizations and foundations are standing by to provide financial aid or to help you locate sources for which you qualify. We’ve done the preliminary research for you. Peruse the resources below and contact any and all that are applicable to you.

We’d also like to remind you that disability-specific groups are a prime source for grants and other help. Find local New Hampshire chapters and inquire within.

Sources for New Hampshire Disability Grants and Assistance


Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (BEAS)
BEAS serves New Hampshire residents over the age of 60 and residents over the age of 18 who suffer from a chronic illness or disability. This is an excellent resource for information and all sorts of services and support.
129 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-9203 or (800) 351-1888

Governor’s Commission on Disability
This is an agency of the State of New Hampshire’s government. It is devoted to removing barriers from the lives of the state’s disabled population. Contact this body with your questions about securing disability grants you can put toward a wheelchair van.
57 Regional Drive, Suite 1
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-2773 or (800) 852-3405

The Harry Gregg Foundation
This is a cross-disability charitable foundation providing direct financial aid to New Hampshire residents. It began in 1989, created in memory of its namesake, the founder of the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center.
1 Verney Drive
Greenfield, NH 03047
(603) 547-3311 ext. 1490 or (800) 394-3311 ext. 1490
hgf@crotchedmountain.org

Institute on Disability (IOD)
IOD works to improve access to assistive technologies for disabled people living in New Hampshire. This is a good source of information about acquiring and using such technology in the state. It is affiliated with the University of New Hampshire.
Assistive Technology
Institute on Disability
10 West Edge Drive
Suite 101
Durham, NH 03824
(855) 374-9969

New England Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Center
The New England ADA Center serves persons with disabilities in New Hampshire. It works to preserve and increase the rights, independence, self-determination and quality of life of the state’s disabled population. Use this key resource to locate an array of disability grants to apply toward a wheelchair van.
180-200 Portland Street
Suite 1
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 695-1225 or (800) 949-4232
ADAinfo@NewEnglandADA.org

New Hampshire Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs)
For the elderly and disabled living in New Hampshire, the state’s ADRCs are available to provide information and assistance. Talk to a representative to learn about funding options for your handicapped-accessible vehicle. You can find your local office using the link above.

The New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities (NHCDD)
NHCDD offers disability grants to individuals and organizations, along with many other types of assistance. State residents with a condition meeting the Federal guidelines for a developmental disability are eligible for help from the Council.
21 Fruit Street, Suite #22
Concord, NH 03301-2451
(603) 271-3236

New Hampshire State Offices of Veterans Services
U.S. veterans who become disabled in the course of active duty or Veterans Affairs-sanctioned services, or whose disabilities are thus made worse, qualify for all manner of support and disability grants. New Hampshire veterans can often receive the full cost of a wheelchair van in financial aid.
275 Chestnut Street
Room 517
Manchester, NH 03101-2411
(603) 624-9230 or (800) 622-9230

New Hampshire Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC)
This is New Hampshire’s chapter of the country’s SILCs. It is dedicated to helping the disabled lead more independent lives. It furthers this goal by providing reliable information, services and aid to state residents with disabilities.
Paula Ninivaggi
Statewide Independent Living Council
c/o Governor’s Commission on Disability
57 Regional Drive
Concord, NH 03301
(603) 271-0476 or (800) 852-3405 ext. 0476
info@silcnh.org

New Hampshire Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
Check in with the New Hampshire VR agency, which operates under the auspices of the state’s Department of Education. It assists disabled state residents in securing employment. If a handicap van is necessary for you to find or to get to work, financial aid is available.
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301-3860
(603) 271-3494
Lori.Temple@doe.nh.gov

These are only some of the resources available for New Hampshire disability grants and assistance.
If you work with or know of another New Hampshire agency or organization that should be listed here, please pass along any pertinent information to: Jim Sanders, Director of Interactive Marketing, Jims@abilityvan.info

Rehabilitation Services

Office of Rehabilitation Services
The Office of Rehabilitation Services helps people with disabilities become employed and live independently in the community. They provide a variety of programs and services to empower individuals with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Vocational Rehabilitation
The focus of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is to help people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Individuals who apply for this program are interested in becoming employed. If a person receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and they are interested in working, they are assumed to be eligible for this program.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers a variety of training and adjustment services for individuals who are blind or who have significant visual impairments. The goal is to help them become independent, active, and self-sufficient members of their community. Services are available for children and adults.

Disability Determination Services
The Disability Determination Services unit determines the eligibility for children and adults with disabilities who are applying for cash benefits from the federal Social Security Administration’s programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Assistive Technology Access Partnership
The Office of Rehabilitation Services administers the Assistive Technology Access Partnership which can help individuals with disabilities get assistive technology devices and services.

Funding wheelchair vans through New Hampshire disability grants can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket expense for new and used handicap van or a van conversion to be wheelchair accessible. We’ve gathered several resources for disability grants to aid you in your quest to buy a handicap van or convert a van to be wheelchair accessible. Once you’ve secured the handicap funding for your wheelchair van, AMS Vans is happy to deliver your handicap van to New Hampshire or nationwide.

Disability Grants in New Hampshire (NH)
The organizations listed below may or may not provide mobility funding for wheelchair van loans. For more details, check with the foundation and local New Hampshire grants providers.

AT in NH
Assistive Technology in New Hampshire is a program that provides access to assistive technology solutions through equipment re-use, explorations, loans and low-cost funding alternatives.

How to Apply for New Hampshire Grants or Mobility Funding
New Hampshire residents are welcome to submit all disability grants, handicap loans, government programs, fundraisers, or other mobility funds. We accepts all funding assistance programs to ensure your handicap needs are met. Help build the most complete list of grant information for the disabled by submitting any disability grants or mobility programs specific to the area of New Hampshire or nationwide.

New York Mobility Rebate Resources

New York Disability Grants and Funds for Wheelchair Vans

Financial Aid Resources for Handicap Vans for New York (NY) Residents
New York disability grants are readily available to residents from various sources. Many are applicable to buying or leasing new or used wheelchair vans, or to handicap van conversions. The latter includes lowered flooring, access ramps, different styles of wheelchair or scooter lifts, turning automotive seating systems, adaptive driving hand controls and other equipment and modifications.

If you need help affording your handicapped-friendly ride, the following New York-based groups are the place to start. Contact any and all that sound relevant to your circumstances. You’ll find that many allow you to apply for financial aid; the others are willing and able to direct you toward sources of disability grants for which you or a family member may be eligible.

Also, contact state branches of nationwide organizations and foundations devoted to your specific cause of limited mobility. These are excellent sources of funding assistance and useful information.

Sources for New York Disability Grants and Assistance

Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR)
ACCESS-VR is a primary resource for disabled New York State residents seeking or trying to hold down a job. It offers an array of services and support to help you get back to work. If this means you need a wheelchair van, a disability grant may be available to you through this agency.
One Commerce Plaza, Room 1609
Albany, New York 12234
(800) 222-5627
accesadm@mail.nysed.gov

Center for Assistive Technology (CAT)
CAT is run by the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professionals. It strives to educate people about assistive technologies and to increase access among those who need it. The Center does not directly provide disability grants or other funding, but its variety of services and resources make it a go-to reference for information about help affording a handicap van.
100 Sylvan Parkway, Suite 400
Amherst, NY 14228
(716) 204-8606 ext. 200

New York Aging and Disabilities Resource Centers (ARDCs)
ADRCs are some of the best sources for information and assistance available to persons with disabilities and senior citizens. Offices are all around the state, serving residents in their immediate vicinity.

New York State Association of Area Agencies on Aging (NYSAAAA)
NYSAAAA upholds the independence and dignity of New York’s elderly. It coordinates for dozens of offices all around the state. Your local branch can assist you with securing the handicapped-accessible vehicle you or an aging loved one needs.

New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC)
The New York DDPC works to further the self-determination and full participation of state residents with a developmental disability. To this end, they assist such people and their families with acquiring the information, services, technologies and other support they require. You may qualify for a disability grant from the council.
99 Washington Avenue, 12th Floor, Suite 1230
Albany, New York 12210
(518) 486-7505 or (800) 395-3372
ddpc@ddpc.ny.gov

New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs (VA)
The VA in New York is dedicated to providing prompt, comprehensive support to in-state US veterans and their families. For veterans who became disabled while on active military duty or while receiving VA services, or for those whose existing disabilities were aggravated under these circumstances, disability grants are available.
5 Empire State Plaza, 17th Floor
Albany, NY 12223-1551
(888) 838-7697
DVAInfo@veterans.ny.gov

New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC)
NYSILC is a nonprofit, non-governmental group formed under federal mandate. The majority-disabled council is appointed by the Governor to further the cause of independent living among New York’s disabled population. The body supports statewide Independent Living Centers, and may be able to direct you toward financial aid for your mobility needs.
111 Washington Avenue, Suite 101
Albany, NY 12210
(518) 427-1060 or (877) 397-4126

 

Northeast Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Center
Among the National Network of ADA Centers, the Northeast branch serves persons with disabilities residing in New York state. It is one of the single best resources for information and assistance. Get in touch to learn about many disability grants for which you may qualify that can be put toward your wheelchair van, accessibility equipment or other modifications.
Employment and Disability Institute
Cornell University
ILR School
201 Dolgen Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-6686 or (800) 949-4232
northeastada@cornell.edu

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), New York State
The State of New York’s OTDA provides financial assistance and a variety of other services to people with disabilities. It is also a good place to check in with to find other sources of funding if you’re trying to buy or lease a wheelchair van or to have accessibility conversions installed.
40 North Pearl Street
Albany, NY 12243
(518) 473-1090
nyspio@otda.ny.gov

Rehabilitation Services

Office of Rehabilitation Services
The Office of Rehabilitation Services helps people with disabilities become employed and live independently in the community. They provide a variety of programs and services to empower individuals with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Vocational Rehabilitation
The focus of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is to help people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Individuals who apply for this program are interested in becoming employed. If a person receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and they are interested in working, they are assumed to be eligible for this program.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers a variety of training and adjustment services for individuals who are blind or who have significant visual impairments. The goal is to help them become independent, active, and self-sufficient members of their community. Services are available for children and adults.

Disability Determination Services
The Disability Determination Services unit determines the eligibility for children and adults with disabilities who are applying for cash benefits from the federal Social Security Administration’s programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Assistive Technology Access Partnership
The Office of Rehabilitation Services administers the Assistive Technology Access Partnership which can help individuals with disabilities get assistive technology devices and services.

Links

New York Disability Grants Handicap Funding NY
Funding handicap needs, like wheelchair vans for people with disabilities, is possible through grants, financing loans, and other funds. Find a handicap van for sale then browse the largest resource for New York disability grants for the disabled to help pay for new wheelchair vans or handicap accessible van conversions.

Disability Grants in New York (NY)
The handicap funding organization(s) provided may or may not allocate financing for handicap vans. Refer to your local New York grants providers and foundations for complete details.

Equipment Loan Fund for the Disabled
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services provides assistance and loans to help in the purchase of wheelchair vans.

How to Apply for New York Grants or Mobility Funding
New York residents seeking disability grants or other mobility finance assistance should contact the grant provider(s) listed above. We will work with any mobility financing services or other sources of funding to help you purchase a handicap van. Contribute to the largest list of New York mobility grant resources by telling us your favorite programs.

Vermont Mobility Rebate Resources

Vermont Disability Grants and Funds for Wheelchair Vans

Financial Aid Resources for Handicap Vans for Vermont (VT) Residents
If you’re a resident of Vermont wondering how you’re going to afford a wheelchair van, you’ve come to the right page. We’ve gathered lots of information on resources for disability grants in your state. Whether you aspire to own a handicap van or to outfit one with accessibility conversions including: scooter or wheelchair lifts to turning automotive seating systems  to adaptive driving controls and everything in between, we’ve got you covered.

Below is a compilation of the primary Vermont-based sources of disability grants and other aid for individuals. A few of the resources don’t provide grants to individuals themselves, but they will prove enormously useful in locating financial aid options for a handicap van you might not uncover yourself during research.

In addition, contact Vermont-based branches of disability specific foundations and other groups that work with people who have a disability. They often offer grants themselves or they can help you locate some to apply for.

Sources for Vermont Disability Grants and Assistance:

Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL)
DAIL is an important contact in the Vermont state government for elderly and disabled residents. They provide information, services and other assistance. Get in touch for help locating available disability grants for which you may qualify.

103 South Main Street
Weeks Building
Waterbury, VT 05671-1601
(802) 871-3350

New England Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Center
Vermont residents looking for disability grants to apply toward a wheelchair van should definitely contact their branch of the National Network of ADA Centers, the New England ADA Center. It strives to preserve and further the independence, self-determination, rights and quality of life of the state’s disabled population.

180-200 Portland Street
Suite 1
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 695-1225 or (800) 949-4232
ADAinfo@NewEnglandADA.org

Office of Veterans Affairs (VA), State of Vermont
Vermont’s VA is your go-to place if you’re an in-state disabled US veteran. Along with the many other types of support, services and aid offered through the VA, disability grants are available to be applied to a wheelchair van or handicapped accessibility modifications. Grants are regularly awarded to veterans who become disabled in the line of duty or as a result of VA medical services.

118 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05620-4401
(802) 828-3379 or (888) 666-9844

Vermont Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC)
ADRCs are joint efforts of the US Administration on Community Living and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Each state has its own division, with multiple offices serving different counties. Elderly and disabled Vermont residents will find this to be an exceptionally useful resource when trying to acquire a wheelchair van. Follow the link to find your county office’s contact information.

Vermont Area Agencies on Aging (AAA)
If you’re a senior citizen living in Vermont, this is a key resource for you. Through a variety of services and support, your state’s AAA helps you remain as independent and comfortable as possible during your later years.

30 Washington St.
Barre, VT 05641
(802) 479-0531 or (800) 642-5119
info@cvaa.org

Vermont Assistive Technology Program (ATP)
Vermont’s ATP provides support to disabled state residents who require assistive technology, including handicapped-friendly transportation. They offer training, information, technical assistance and more. They also loan out some assistive technology for short-term trials. Ask about where you can get disability grants to apply toward your wheelchair van.

Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC)
The National Association of DDCs operates state-based branches in most states. This Council is available to all Vermont residents who meet the definition of a person with a developmental disability as spelled out by federal law. They work tirelessly to protect and promote a high quality of life for people with these afflictions. This includes offering individual grants to help maintain mobility and other aspects of independence.

103 South Main Street
One North, Suite 117
Waterbury VT 05671-0206
(802) 828-1310 or (888) 317-2006
vtddc@state.vt.us

Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
Vermont’s DVR is dedicated to keeping the state’s disabled residents gainfully employed. Through a variety of hands-on approaches, the agency helps ensure you can find and keep a job. If this requires getting a handicap van, disability grants may be available to you. Search for an office location by city at the DVR website or reach the main office at:

103 South Main Steet, Weeks 1A
Waterbury, VT 05671-2303
(866) 879-6757

Vermont Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC)
Like its counterparts in all other states, the Vermont SILC is a legally mandated, nonprofit, non-governmental organization controlled by consumers. It is run by a council of 21 disabled members. It endeavors to promote the independence, self-determination and equality of persons with disabilities.

P.O. Box 56
Winooski, VT 05404
(802) 233-4908

Rehabilitation Services

Office of Rehabilitation Services
The Office of Rehabilitation Services helps people with disabilities become employed and live independently in the community. They provide a variety of programs and services to empower individuals with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Vocational Rehabilitation
The focus of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is to help people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Individuals who apply for this program are interested in becoming employed. If a person receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and they are interested in working, they are assumed to be eligible for this program.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers a variety of training and adjustment services for individuals who are blind or who have significant visual impairments. The goal is to help them become independent, active, and self-sufficient members of their community. Services are available for children and adults.

Disability Determination Services
The Disability Determination Services unit determines the eligibility for children and adults with disabilities who are applying for cash benefits from the federal Social Security Administration’s programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Assistive Technology Access Partnership
The Office of Rehabilitation Services administers the Assistive Technology Access Partnership which can help individuals with disabilities get assistive technology devices and services.

Links

Vermont Disability Grants Handicap Funding VT
Get handicap funding such as grants, disabled loans, mobility finance options, government programs, and other funds for accessible transportation. Find the largest source of grants for the disabled to cover some or all the costs associated with funding new or used handicap vans or wheelchair van conversions. Once you’ve secured the funding for your wheelchair van, AMS Vans is happy to deliver your handicap van to Vermont or nationwide.

Disability Grants in Vermont (VT)
Vermont disability grant programs may or may not provide funding for a handicap van. Check with the local Vermont grant provider for a complete list of requirements.

Opportunities Credit Union
The Opportunities Credit Union provides affordable financing and terms for disabled people living in Vermont to purchase a wheelchair van.

How to Apply for Vermont Grants or Mobility Funding
Vermont residents in search of handicap grants, mobility financing, disabled loans, government assistance, or other disability programs to buy a wheelchair van should contact the foundations listed. We will work with all approved grants and funding resources you’ve received to get you your handicap van or accessible conversion as soon as possible. If we missed a grant program you’re familiar with, please let us know so we can add it to our list of mobility funding sources in Vermont.

Rhode Island Mobility Van Resources

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

What is the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program?
The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program is the public state and federally funded program that assists individuals with disabilities to choose, prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Employment being the successful outcome of services provided through the public vocational rehabilitation program. It is expected that individuals with disabilities who apply for services are interested in becoming employed and understand that this is the focus of the VR program.

Who is Eligible for VR Services?

Do you want to work?
Do you have a condition that limits your job opportunities?
To be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services, you must – 1) have a physical, intellectual or emotional impairment which is a substantial barrier to employment, and 2) require vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment, and 3) be able to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services in terms of an employment outcome. If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your vocational rehabilitation office will presume that you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation services.

How Do You Obtain Services Through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program?

Individuals with disabilities must first apply for the VR program and be determined eligible before services can be provided. Individuals with significant disabilities are presumed eligible for the program if an application is completed and there is documentation of disability. All applicants for the VR program are encouraged to present documentation of their disability and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) to speed up the eligibility process.

Employment Plan
(Individualized Plan for Employment)

The eligible individual with a disability and a Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor will work together to develop an employment plan called the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The Employment Plan considers the individual’s unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, skills, abilities, preferences, capabilities, interests, and values, as well as the barriers to employment. The Employment Plan identifies the employment goal that the individual has chosen, the time it is expected to reach the goal, the services that the individual chooses as necessary to reach the employment goal, and how the services will be provided. Some of the services may be provided directly by the VR Counselor, others may be available through other public sources such as netWORKri (One Stop Career Centers), and others may be purchased with funds provided by the VR agency. The individual may develop the Employment Plan with the assistance of the VR Counselor, another individual, or by him or herself. The VR Counselor is always available to provide assistance in this process, and a Qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who works for the public VR program must approve the Employment Plan before any services are provided through the VR agency. The partnership between each individual with a disability and their Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor is a key component in the Vocational Rehabilitation process.

What Are Some of the Services that can be Included in an Employment Plan?

Vocational rehabilitation services that may be included in an Employment Plan are:

  • Counseling and Guidance to help plan vocational goals and services
  • Transition Services from School to Career
  • Rehabilitation Technology Services
  • Assistive Technology Services
  • Diagnostic Evaluations
  • College or Vocational Training
  • Job Training and Job Supports
  • Job Development and Placement Services
  • Vehicle Modifications
  • Housing Modifications
  • Post-Employment Services

What Are Some Services After an Employment Goal is Achieved?

Employment is the successful outcome for the individual with a disability and the VR program. Once employed, however, the VR agency may assist with post-employment services to assist the individual to retain or advance in employment.

If you are interested in applying for services, please fill out and sign the completed Application (Espanol) and return to Intake, Office of Rehabilitation Services, 40 Fountain Street, Providence, RI 02903.

Rehabilitation Services

Office of Rehabilitation Services
The Office of Rehabilitation Services helps people with disabilities become employed and live independently in the community. They provide a variety of programs and services to empower individuals with disabilities to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment and economic self-sufficiency.

Vocational Rehabilitation
The focus of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is to help people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment. Individuals who apply for this program are interested in becoming employed. If a person receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and they are interested in working, they are assumed to be eligible for this program.

Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
The Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers a variety of training and adjustment services for individuals who are blind or who have significant visual impairments. The goal is to help them become independent, active, and self-sufficient members of their community. Services are available for children and adults.

Disability Determination Services
The Disability Determination Services unit determines the eligibility for children and adults with disabilities who are applying for cash benefits from the federal Social Security Administration’s programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Assistive Technology Access Partnership
The Office of Rehabilitation Services administers the Assistive Technology Access Partnership which can help individuals with disabilities get assistive technology devices and services.

Links

  • Office of Rehabilitation Services
    • (401) 421-7005 (voice)
    • 
(401) 421-7016 (TDD)
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Program
  • Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Disability Determination Services
  • Assistive Technology Access Partnership

Rhode Island Disability Grants Handicap Funding RI

Buying a wheelchair van can be easier through handicap grants, loans for the disabled, mobility finance programs, government assistance, and other handicap funding sources. Get some or all the cost funded with Rhode Island disability grants for a wheelchair van or vehicle conversion. Delivery of handicap vans in Rhode Island or nationwide is fast and convenient.

Disability Grants in Rhode Island (RI)
The grants listed below may or may not provide funding for handicap vans to individuals. Please contact your local Rhode Island grant provider for a detailed list of requirements.

TechACCESS of Rhode Island

TechACCESS provides a list of resources that can help disabled persons living in Rhode Island purchase a handicap van with supplemental funding.

How to Apply for Rhode Island Grants or Mobility Funding
Help us build the largest Rhode Island directory of handicap grants, loans, and other mobility funding sources by contributing your favorite mobility funding programs. Rhode Island residents can find disability grants, wheelchair van loans, or other financing options to help pay for a wheelchair van by contacting one or several disabled funding programs. We will helps you find a used wheelchair van for sale and gladly accept all funding assistance programs to ensure your handicap needs are met.

Massachusetts Mobility Van Resources

Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD)

Description:
The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) is the state advocacy agency for people with disabilities. MOD’s goal is to make sure that people with disabilities have the legal rights, opportunities, support services, and accommodations they need to take part in all aspects of life in Massachusetts. MOD helps people of all ages.

One of MOD’s main duties is to make sure that the state government, the local governments, and private organizations comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. MOD informs residents about their rights under the law, investigates complaints, and works to correct any violations. MOD services are free.

Services: The Massachusetts Office of Disability has three main programs:

  • The Government Services Program provides technical assistance and advice to state and local governments on all disability-related issues. MOD makes sure that government regulations and policies meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. MOD offers guidance to public service agencies and makes public policy recommendations on behalf of residents with disabilities.
  • The Client Services Program helps individuals who need help with disability-related problems. MOD operates an information and referral system to help residents find the services they need and learn about their legal rights. MOD also investigates complaints and helps correct civil rights violations. MOD’s Client Assistance Program (CAP) helps residents who are having problems with federally funded vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs.
  • The Community Services Program helps communities become more responsive to the needs of residents with disabilities. MOD trains individuals and community organizations to advocate for the rights of the disabled. MOD offers technical assistance and information about accessibility laws. The goal is to improve access to public and private places, programs, and services for people with all types of disabilities.

Contact Information:
Massachusetts Office on Disability
One Ashburton Place, Room 1305
Boston, MA 02108

Telephone: 617-727-7440
Toll-free: Voice/TTY: 800-322-2020
Fax: 617-727-0965

Web site: Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD)

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC)

Description:
The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) helps people with disabilities find employment and live independently. The MRC serves Massachusetts residents age 18 and older. The MRC helps people with all types of disabilities except blindness. Legally blind residents can get services from the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.

Services:
The MRC is the state agency in Massachusetts responsible for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), Community Services (CS), and Disability Determination Services (DDS). The MRC also assists with public benefit programs, housing, transportation, and consumer issues. Some MRC programs and services have specific eligibility requirements. Most are free.

The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program helps people with disabilities find work or go back to work. The VR program works with various organizations in the community to help create jobs for Massachusetts residents with disabilities.

The Office of Community Services (CS) offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities live independently in their communities:

  1. The Brain Injury and Statewide Specialized Community Services (BISSCS) program helps Massachusetts residents who have externally caused traumatic brain injuries.
  2. Protective Services tries to prevent the physical, emotional, or sexual abuse of people with disabilities by their caregivers.
  3. Independent Living Centers provide advocacy, personal care management, and independent living skills training.
  4. The T22 (Turning 22) Independent Living Support Program helps young people with physical mobility disabilities who want to live independently in their communities.
  5. The Home Care Assistance Program for disabled adults under age 60 provides help with homemaking tasks (see Home Care Assistance Program).
  6. Other in-home and community living support services are also available.
  7. The Assistive Technology (AT) Program buys and installs assistive devices and provides training and follow-up for users.
  • Disability Determination Services (DDS), funded by the Social Security Administration (SSA), determines medical eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Disability examiners use medical and vocational information to make their decisions.

MassMATCH

Web site: MassMATCH

MassMATCH is a statewide program to help Massachusetts residents with disabilities find, pay for, and use assistive technology (AT) that can make a difference in their lives. The MassMatch web site offers information and advice about:

  • assistive technology (AT) products
  • AT demonstration centers
  • AT funding sources (insurance, loans, government assistance, private charities)
  • where to buy, borrow, swap, and sell AT equipment

MassMATCH (Maximize Assistive Technology in Consumers’ Hands) is a partnership between the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, other state human services agencies, and community-based organizations.

Contact Information:
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
Fort Point Place, Suite 600
27 Wormwood Street
Boston, MA 02210-1616

Telephone: Voice/TTY: 617-204-3600
Toll-free: Voice/TTY: 1-800-245-6543
Disabled Persons Protection Hotline: 1-800-426-9009
Ombudsman: 617-204-3603
Fax: 617-727-1354

Web site: Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC)

Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB)

Description:
The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) provides rehabilitation and social services to legally blind Massachusetts residents of all ages. These services help people who are legally blind live independently as active members of their communities. The MCB contacts all legally blind people in the state to offer support services.

Eye care providers in Massachusetts are required by law to report all cases of legal blindness to the MCB. The MCB keeps a confidential registry of all legally blind people in the state. The Commission issues Certificates of Legal Blindness to people on its register. These certificates allow legally blind residents to get exemptions and deductions on income tax, property tax, and auto excise tax. The Commission also issues an identification card, similar to a driver’s license, for personal identification and proof of legal blindness.

Services: The Massachusetts Commission for the Blind provides the following services:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation (VR), including diagnostic studies, counseling and guidance, individual plans for employment (IPE), restorative and training services, rehabilitation and mobility instruction, assistive technology, adaptive housing, job placement, and post-employment services
  • Assistive technology
  • Independent living social services, including homemaking assistance, assistive devices, mobility instruction, and peer support groups
  • Specialized services for blind seniors (BRIDGE program)
  • Specialized services for blind children, including referrals for early intervention, public benefits, respite care, and socialization and recreation programs
  • Specialized services for blind/deaf individuals and others with multiple disabilities
  • Rehabilitation instruction, including Braille and typing, use of low-vision devices, labeling and record keeping, food preparation, home safety, and self-care techniques
  • Orientation and mobility instruction, including guide dogs
  • MassHealth services for financially eligible people who are legally blind, including long-term care services, hospital services, personal care attendants, private duty nursing, and transportation services
  • Consumer assistance and advocacy for issues related to blindness such as housing and job discrimination, guide dog issues, or transportation problems

Most services are offered free of charge to all registered legally blind Massachusetts residents. Some services have additional eligibility requirements.

Contact Information:
Massachusetts Commission for the Blind
48 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02111

Toll-free Voice: 800-392-6450
Toll-free TDD: 800-392-6556
Fax: 617-626-7685

Web site: Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB)

Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH)

Description:
The Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) is the state government agency that works on behalf of Massachusetts residents who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The MCDHH serves as an advocate to make sure that deaf and hard-of-hearing residents have the same access to information, services, education, and other opportunities as the hearing population.

Services: Some of the services that the MCDHH provides are:

  • Communication access, training, and technology services
  • Case management services, including specialized services for children
  • Interpreter and CART translation services
Note: CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) service translates spoken words into a visual print display that can be read on a computer monitor or other display device.
  • Independent Living Programs, including peer mentoring, assistive technology, consumer education, self-advocacy, and other independent living skills

Contact Information:
Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH)
Executive Office of Health and Human Services
600 Washington Street 
Boston, MA 02111
Telephone: 617-740-1600 / TTY: 617-740-1700
Toll-free: Voice: 1-800-882-1155 / TTY: 1-800-530-7570
Fax: 617-740-1880
Web site: Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH)

The Savvy Consumer’s Guide to Hearing Loss
 MCDHH Resource Directory
Regional Offices of the MCDHH
Interpreter and CART Services
Independent Living Services

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH)

Description:
The Massachusetts Department of Mental Health is the state agency that oversees treatment programs, support services, regulations, and public policy for Massachusetts residents with mental illness. The DMH supports a community-based system of care.

The Department of Mental Health serves adults with long-term or serious mental illness, and children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. For adults, the mental disorder must be persistent and must interfere with the ability to carry out daily life activities. For children, the disorder must limit the child’s ability to function in family, school, or community activities.

Residents must file an application and get DMH approval before they can get services. Applications are available on the DMH web site at DMH Service Application Forms and Appeal Guidelines. Applicants can get short-term services while waiting for DMH approval for continuing care.

Services:
The DMH provides continuing care services to Massachusetts residents who cannot get needed services from other agencies or programs. DMH services include:

  • continuing care inpatient facilities
  • residential treatment centers
  • in-home treatment
  • outpatient services
  • skills training
  • supported employment
  • case management

Contact Information:
Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH)
Central Office
25 Staniford Street
Boston, MA 02114

Telephone: 617-626-8000
TTY: 617-727-9842
E-mail: DMH Email
Web site: Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
DMH Local Offices: DMH Offices

Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS)

Description:
The Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is the state agency that provides support services to Massachusetts residents with intellectual disabilities. The DDS works with many provider agencies throughout the state to offer services to adults and children and their caregivers. Individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families play an active role in making decisions about their lives and in choosing the support services they want and need.

The DDS has an application for services that must be completed before services can be approved. The application is available on the DDS web site: Application for DDS Eligibility

Services: The DDS offers a wide range of support services for adults, including:

  • Service coordination
  • Housing options
  • Employment skills training and transportation to work
  • Non-work related skills training
  • Family support services, including respite care
  • Life skills training and support (food shopping, cooking, etc.)

DDS’s services for children include:

  • Service coordination
  • Family support services, including respite care
  • Partnership program for families of children with significant health care needs
  • Autism support centers
  • After-school and summer camp programs

Contact Information:
Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services
Central Office
500 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02118

Telephone: Voice: 617-727-5608
TTY: 617-624-7783
Fax: 617-624-7577

Web site: Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS)

Local DDS offices: DDS Area Office Locator

Disability Law Center (DLC)

Description:
The Disability Law Center (DLC) is a private non-profit law firm that gives free legal assistance to Massachusetts residents with disabilities who have been discriminated against because of their disability.

The Disability Law Center helps people with all types of disabilities, including physical, psychiatric, sensory, and cognitive. The DLC provides legal help with problems such as discrimination, abuse or neglect, or denial of services, when they are related to a person’s disability.

Services:
Services include information and referral, technical assistance, legal representation for individuals and groups, and advocacy. The Disability Law Center helps with disability-related legal problems in these areas:

  • Access to community services
  • Special education
  • Health care
  • Disability benefits
  • Rights and conditions in facilities

The DLC does not have the resources to help everyone who has a disability-related legal problem. The DLC sets priorities each year based on the needs of the community. See DLC Priorities. The DLC chooses cases that will have the most impact on the lives of people with disabilities.

Contact Information:
Disability Law Center (DLC)
11 Beacon Street, Suite 925
Boston, MA 02108

Voice telephone: 617-723-8455 / 800-872-9992
TTY: 617-227-9464 / 800-381-0577

Web site: Disability Law Center

DisabilityInfo.org

Description:
The DisabilityInfo.org web site helps people with disabilities, their families, and service providers find disability-related resources in Massachusetts. It has information on a wide variety of programs, agencies, and services for Massachusetts residents with disabilities.

The site is maintained by New England INDEX, a nonprofit technology group. New England INDEX collects information from over 100 members of the Massachusetts Network of Information Providers for People with Disabilities (MNIP) and puts the information on one web site for easy access.

Services:
On the DisabilityInfo.org web site, you can find:

  • disability programs, services, and agencies in Massachusetts
  • disability consultants, including advocates, educators, therapists, counselors, and other specialists
  • physicians and dentists with experience working with people with disabilities
  • local and regional offices for human service agencies
  • local disability agencies that you can call for help
  • fact sheets about many different types of disabilities
  • disability-related laws and regulations
  • disability news
  • information about assistive technology
  • other resources for people with disabilities

Contact Information:
Web site: DisabilityInfo.org

New England INDEX
200 Trapelo Road
Waltham, MA 02452-6319

Telephone: 781-642-0248
Toll-free: Voice: 800-642-0249
Toll-free: TTY: 800-764-0200

E-mail: info@DisabilityInfo.org

Dodge/ Chrysler’s Mobility Rebate

Chrysler’s Automobility Program

Overview
Designed to help customers with permanent disabilities enter, exit and/or operate a new vehicle, Chrysler’s Automobility Program can help you do the things you love to do in life. And, we’ll help you hit the road in the style that suits you best. Our goal is to assist in lessening the burden of the financial cost of modifying your vehicle.

How the Program Works
When you buy or lease any new 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013 Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram or FIAT® vehicle from a participating dealership or FIAT studio, Chrysler will give you a cash reimbursement to help reduce the cost of installing the adaptive driver or passenger equipment on your vehicle. Leased vehicles must be leased for a minimum of 12 months to be eligible.

Once you have a 2010-2013 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle that fits your transportation needs, contact a reputable and qualified adaptive equipment installer to ensure that it can be adapted to meet your needs.

Please consult a dealership or call Automobility Program Headquarters for eligibility requirements and program expiration dates.

A program application must be used to submit a claim for reimbursement under the terms and conditions of the Chrysler Automobility Program. Through this program, Chrysler will provide a reimbursement to each eligible customer who installs qualifying adaptive driver or passenger equipment on a purchased or leased new Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicle (unless discontinued or excluded earlier at the discretion of Chrysler Group LLC).

A medical doctor’s prescription or note may also be required for certain types of modifications. Consult a dealership for more information on which modifications require notes.

Reimbursement
Conversions to Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram or FIAT vehicles qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $1,000. Running boards qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $400. Alerting devices qualify for a maximum reimbursement of $200. These reimbursements will not be reduced or affected by any additional outside funding. Consult your dealer for complete eligibility requirements.

Eligible Vehicles
Vehicles eligible for reimbursement include 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram and FIAT vehicles. Dodge Viper, Dodge Dart SE and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT® models are ineligible.

Financing
If you require assistance with financing an adapted vehicle purchase / lease, we can help you finance the cost of your new vehicle, as well as any modifications you make to it. Conventional financing is available through Ally Financial to all qualified new vehicle buyers.

Click HERE for the Application

Toyota Mobility Rebate Information

Toyota Mobility Assistance Program
This program provides cash reimbursement of up to $1,000 of the cost of any aftermarket adaptive equipment or conversion, for drivers and/or passengers, when installed on any eligible purchased or leased new Toyota vehicle.

  • Under this program, the cash reimbursement will be provided for the exact cost you paid to purchase and install qualifying adaptive driving or passenger equipment for transporting persons with physical disabilities
  • This offer applies to all purchased or leased new Toyota vehicles

The program also applies to purchasers of the Toyota Factory Installed Auto Access Seat, where the full $1,000 cash reimbursement will be paid directly to you.
Expect to receive payment within 6-8 weeks after all the paperwork is submitted. Incomplete paperwork will delay the payment.

Leased vehicles require advance written lessor approval of adaptive equipment installations.

Only vehicles sold or leased and delivered to a retail customer by an authorized Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. dealer are eligible under this program.

The adaptive equipment must be installed within 12 months of vehicle purchase or lease.

A Reimbursement Application Form must be submitted to the Toyota Mobility Assistance Center within 90 days of complete installation of adaptive equipment

Qualifying adaptive equipment or conversion is defined as any aftermarket alteration or equipment installation on an eligible Toyota vehicle that provides to the disabled user convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle.

Audi Mobility Rebate Information

2013 Audi Mobility Rebate Program
Will Offer $1,500 in assistance for approved adaptive equipment.

Audi is pleased to announce that they are continuing the 2013 Mobility Assistance program for handicap hand controls that are installed on any qualifying Audi model. They will also consider other types of handicap assists (such as hydraulic lifts for scooters, etc.) on a case-by-case basis. All exception requests should be made directly to mobilityassistance@audi.com.

Audi will offer $1,500 in assistance for hand controls (or other approved handicap assistance devices) to anyone who purchases or leases a new Audi or CPO Audi vehicle (Dealer demonstrator vehicles are also included). The client should contact an adaptive equipment retailer of their choice for information concerning the purchase and installation of such equipment.

Required documentation
To qualify for payment, the client must submit the following documentation:

  • Name, address, home and secondary phone numbers.
  • A photocopy of a signed Purchase (Bill of Sale) or Lease Agreement for a new Audi or Audi CPO vehicle.
  • A photocopy of a paid invoice for hand control installation (or other approved assistance devices) on the Audi model purchased or leased.

All payments will be made directly to the Audi owner approximately four weeks after submission to Audi. Documentation should be submitted, faxed or emailed to:
Audi of America, Inc.

ATTN: Audi Mobility Assistance Program
3800 Hamlin Road
Auburn Hills, MI 48326

Phone: +1-800-822-AUDI (2834)
Fax: +1-248-754-6513
Email: mobilityassistance@audi.com

Fiat Mobility Rebate Information

Fiat 500 equipped with hand control devices for individuals with physical disabilities save $200

Save $200 on the installation of any new hand controls in your new or used Fiat for the month of July in 2013

Do you have a Fiat 500 and are in need of it being equipped with a set of hand controls or other mobility devices for individuals with physical disabilities.

We offer a lifetime guaranty on our installation. If you ever feel there is something wrong with your hand controls (even if we didn’t install them) please come in to our Bridgewater, MA Mobility Center for a free inspection by a certified mobility craftsman.

If you looking to have mobility equipment expertly installed by master craftsman call 508-697-6006 Automotive Innovations Bridgewater, MA

We will alter your automobile to suit your mobility needs, help you find the perfect hand controls or mobility equipment for your vehicle and install it expertly for you.

Mercedes-Benz Mobility Rebate Information

If you have special transportation needs and require mobility equipment installed in your new Mercedes-Benz you could be eligible for the Mobility Program.

If you are eligible for this program, MBUSA will defray part of the cost for adaptive equipment installed by an NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) certified mobility installer on a purchased or leased new Mercedes-Benz vehicle. Click and download the PDF below for the program application and to learn more about program details, eligibility and available reimbursement amounts.

PROGRAM GUIDELINES
Through this program, Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC will provide a reimbursement to eligible customers who install qualifying adaptive driver or passenger equipment on a purchased or leased new Mercedes-Benz vehicle during the program period which may be discontinued by MBUSA at it’s discretion.

  • This program applies to vehicles sold or leased and delivered through an authorized U.S. MB dealer on which adaptive equipment has been installed by an NMEDA certified mobility installer.
  • The adaptive equipment must be installed within six months of new vehicle purchase or lease. An application form with all required supporting documentation must be submitted to the Customer Assistance Center within 60 days of complete installation of adaptive equipment. Note that all adaptations must have medical documentation.
  • Adaptive equipment is defined as equipment that is required by persons with a permanent disability to drive, enter, exit and/or be transported safely in a Mercedes-Benz motor vehicle. Factory-optional equipment is not reimbursable under this program. A prescription or note from a licensed medical doctor on physician’s letterhead with a specific diagnosis is required for reimbursement.
  • Conversions to M-Class, G-Class, GL-Class, GLK-Class and R-Class models may be reimbursed up to a maximum of $1,000. Conversions to all other eligible Mercedes-Benz models qualify for reimbursement up to a maximum of $750. Side steps or running boards qualify for reimbursement up to $400 out of the maximum reimbursement available.
  • The application form must be completed in its entirety along with all required documentation and signed by the customer and dealership.
  • Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC will be the final judge as to the eligibility, interpretation and fulfillment of all elements of this program. Any payment or benefits received are subject to the Program Guidelines. Payments made by Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC hereafter constitute good will reimbursements to assist new Mercedes-Benz purchasers with the installation of special need mobility equipment and such payment does not represent any approval of the equipment or installation method or otherwise constitute a representation or warranty regarding the fitness, quality, appropriateness, effectiveness or suitability for use with Mercedes-Benz products or any other warranty of any type with respect to the equipment or its installation.
  • A copy of the application form, a copy of the adaptive equipment company’s itemized paid invoice, vehicle registration and a prescription or note from a licensed medical doctor on physician’s letterhead stating the specific diagnosis (when required) must be mailed to the following address:

CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE CENTER
3 MERCEDES DR.
MONTVALE, NJ 07645

Customer is responsible for submitting this application. Payment to the individual customer will be mailed within six weeks after receipt of an approved claim form and all required documentation.

Please call Customer Assistance Center with Any Questions:
1-800-FOR-MERCedes

Click HERE for the application form along with the guidelines

VMI Stories: Jeff Derwallis

Meet Jeff
Jeff was injured in 1991 while serving in the marines. It wasn’t easy to get around, but he wanted to stay active. He heard about wheelchair tennis and started playing and going to tournaments, where he saw VMI mobility vans and people easily going in and out of them. He was amazed by what he saw and how much easier life was for the owners of those vans. His first van truly made a lot of problems disappear in his life.

As he continued playing his tennis, he practiced with his wife and learned about a hot yoga studio through one of her friends. He started going to yoga to improve his tennis game and as he kept getting better, he also began feeling better about everything. Being able to get into the driver seat and just take off and go somewhere is just fantastic in Jeff’s mind. He is a proud owner of his third VMI conversion van and loves the freedom it gives him.

Kia Mobility Rebate Information

Military Offers

Special Offers for members of the United States Armed Forces that are active, reservists, retirees, have received and honorable discharge or military members that are on disability from the United States Armed Forces, including spouses.

For More Information:

  • Click this link: Military Offers
  • Enter your zip code
  • Click on the offers to see details

Jaguar Mobility Rebate Information

Jaguar Mobility Program
The Jaguar Mobility Headquarters can assist in locating assessment centers, equipment dealers and installers, and potential resources for financial assistance.

For further information on the Jaguar Mobility Program call 1-800-207-5517 or TTY 1-800-833-0312 .

Nissan Mobility Rebate Information

MOBILIZE AND GET
REIMBURSED UP TO $1000

The Nissan Mobility Assist Program is committed to making every Nissan vehicle accessible. To help make this happen, we’re offering up to a $1,000 reimbursement on your purchase and installation of qualified adaptive equipment. It’s a simple process that you can manage directly through the Nissan Mobility website.

Mobility Information
Please contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for additional information on equipment and registered installers

Overview
Purchase or lease a new Nissan through a participating Nissan dealer  Within 6 months, have qualifying adaptive equipment installed by a NHTSA-registered  installer

Complete “Nissan Mobility Form” online and submit all applicable documentation through fax or email within 90 days of installation.

Documentation includes: vehicle sale or purchase agreement, copy of invoice from NHTSA-registered installer, proof of customer payment (receipt) for equipment/installation, medical documentation as described in the program rules, lessor written letter of approval (if applicable), medical insurance statement (if applicable)  Receive reimbursement of up to $1,000 from Nissan

Program Rules
Retailed vehicles only; vehicle must be purchased or leased from a participating Nissan dealer after 4/2/2013  Used sales and Fleet sales are not eligible under this program Nissan Mobility Assist reimbursement cannot be applied toward the purchase or lease of the vehicle

Only one reimbursement per vehicle may be made  All leased vehicle modifications should be approved by lessor For existing leases through Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation (NMAC), the following types of adaptive equipment have been pre-approved: Hand Controls, Wheelchair/Scooter Lift, Left Foot Accelerator, Turning Automotive Seating Adaptive equipment must be installed after vehicle has been retailed and within 6 months of purchase or lease from an authorized Nissan dealer.

Requests for reimbursement must be made within 90 days after the equipment is installed Adaptive equipment must be medically necessary in order to operate the Nissan vehicle or transport passengers with a documented physical disability To receive reimbursement for vehicle modifications, medical documentation must be submitted to Nissan clearly stating the disability or impairment for which the equipment is intended.

The documentation must be prepared on official letterhead of and signed by a licensed, certified medical professional Installer must be registered with NHTSA and customer must provide Nissan with a receipt from the installer Nissan Accessories are not eligible for reimbursement     Exceptions
Nissan will not provide reimbursement for the purchase and/or installation of equipment that has already been fully claimed and fulfilled by medical insurance  A reimbursement made by another source, such as medical insurance, will be subtracted from the customer’s original total expense. (Example: Total expense $5,000, Insurance  reimbursement $4,000, Customer expense, $1,000. The customer expense of $1,000 will  be reviewed and considered for a maximum of $1,000 reimbursement.)

Warranty Information
Adaptations are not warranted by Nissan, please consult with your installer and/or equipment provider for warranty information  Contact Information  The vehicle modifications must fall within those permitted under the NHTSA exemption as set out in 49 CFR §595.7  Expect to receive reimbursement within 6-10 weeks after all required paperwork has been received by Nissan
Any damage to the vehicle due to adaptive equipment or its installation may void or not be covered under the Nissan New Vehicle Limited Warranty Nissan assumes no responsibility for death, injuries, or damage related to the installation of adaptive equipment

Requests for assistance may be submitted via email Applicable claim documentation may be submitted via fax at 888-912-2409

Ford Mobility Rebate Information

Program Details
The Ford Mobility Motoring adaptive equipment reimbursement of up to $1,000, or up to $200 for alert hearing devices, lumbar support or running boards, is available on any new Ford or Lincoln vehicle purchased or leased from a U.S. Ford or Lincoln dealer during the program period. Maximum reimbursement per vehicle is $1,000. Your Ford or Lincoln dealer has complete program details.

For example: If the cost of adding adaptive equipment is less than $1,000, your cash reimbursement will be for the exact amount of the adaptive equipment. Your Ford or Lincoln dealer has complete program details.

New Program Guidelines

Major structural vehicle modifications to accommodate the installation of wheelchair lift or ramp MUST be completed by a Ford Authorized Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) to be eligible for reimbursement. This change will be effective for any units modified after March 31,2011.

Raised roof and lowered floor conversions alone do not meet the eligibility requirements. 

Documentation must show that mobility adaptive equipment (such as a wheelchair lift, ramp or adaptive controls) was installed on the vehicle.

Adaptive equipment is defined as devices that make it easier for persons with permanent physical disabilities to drive or be transported in a vehicle. For more information about adaptive equipment please click on the “Adaptive Equipment Eligibility” page in the navigation bar.

Eligible Vehicles

All new model Ford or Lincoln Cars, Vans, CUVs ,SUVs and Trucks sold or leased during the program period. Eligible vehicles must have installation of the qualifying adaptive equipment within one year of reported purchase/lease date to the ultimate consumer.

New vehicles acquired from a U.S. Ford Authorized Pool Converter are eligible for the program.

Used units, including those previously in rental service, lease service or repurchased vehicles by Ford Motor Company that are available for resale, are not eligible.

Eligible Customers
Customer must be the end-user of the vehicle that requires installation of qualifying adaptive driving or assistance equipment, or passenger aid equipment. The end-user may also be defined as an organization, church, assisted living facility, nursing home, municipality, city, state or federal government.

Claims may be made for adaptive equipment required by a family member of the owner/lessee of an eligible vehicle, providing the equipment be permanently fitted to the vehicle.

*Includes all new Ford and Lincoln vehicles when purchased or leased from a U.S. Ford or Lincoln dealer during the program period.

Modification Eligibility
To be eligible for the Ford Mobility Motoring reimbursement, any/all structural modifications must in their entirety make the vehicle viably useful for the individual(s) for whom the modification is being made. Claims for modifications that may, in part, be commonly recognized as consistent with mobility modifications, but by themselves do not create a completed vehicle for use by the intended individual(s) are not eligible.

Major structural vehicle modifications to accommodate the installation of wheelchair lift or ramp MUST be completed by a Ford Authorized Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) to be eligible for reimbursement. This change is in effect for any units modified after March 31, 2011.

Examples of major structural vehicle modifications include, but are not limited to, raised roofs or door openings and lowered floors. Non-structural vehicle adaptations (adaptive equipment) such as bolt on items or driving aids do not require the work to be completed by a Ford Quality Vehicle Modifier.

Raised roof and lowered floor conversions alone do not meet the eligibility requirements. Documentation must show that mobility adaptive equipment (such as a wheelchair lift, ramp or adaptive controls) was installed on the vehicle.

Adaptive Equipment Eligibility
Finding the Right Mobility Dealer
Choosing a company to provide your adaptive equipment is an important decision. Be sure to ask about credentials, experience, warranty coverage and service after the sale.

National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association
NMEDA is a non-profit organization composed of dealers, automotive manufacturers, rehabilitation professionals and mobility equipment providers that encourages professionalism and works to establish national guidelines and standards for the mobility best practices. To view a list of current members, go to www.nmeda.org. NMEDA Quality Assurance Program, QAP, is a nationally recognized accreditation program for the adaptive mobility equipment industry. As such, the companies involved have been certified to comply with NMEDA quality control processes, have the proper insurance and have obtained the applicable training from the adaptive equipment manufacturers they represent.

Carriers

Price Range : $500 – $4,000

Bumper-Mounted Carrier – allows manual wheelchairs to be mounted on bumper. Most of the bumper-mounted carriers can be removed to allow access to the trunk.

Car Top Carrier – an electric motor-driven hoist operates by switches. A steel pin lowers to pick up a manual wheelchair, which folds as it rises to the carrier.

Hitch-Mounted Carrier – tilts down when loading the wheelchair and then easily tilts up and locks into place.

Pickup Truck Carrier – stores the wheelchair in the bed of the truck after the wheelchair has been folded and picked up by an electric-driven motor. Certain manufacturers’ carriers will pick up the rigid chair, power wheelchair or a scooter not folded.


Parking Brake Extensions
Price Range : $50 – $900

Electric Parking Brake – motorized and can be set and released by a switch located within easy reach of the driver. Ideal for those with limited foot and leg strength.

Manual Parking Brake – for those with limited foot and leg strength. It is a handle attached to the parking brake and is long enough to operate by hand.

Hand Controls
Price Range : $360 – $2,000

Electrical
Electronic Hand Controls – this technology comes in two segments: Primary and Secondary Controls. Primary controls operate the gas, brake and steering functions. Products are usually combinations of joysticks and levers. Secondary controls operate all other vehicle functions. Products include voice activated controls, touch pads and power headrests. Please note: electronic controls do not fit in the price range above as each modification is unique to the individual. Please see your installer for an estimate.

Push Pull Control – brakes the vehicle when pushed toward the floor and accelerates the vehicle when pulled upward.

Push Right Angle Pull Hand Control – push the handle upward toward the instrument panel to brake and pull it downward at a right angle to accelerate.

Push Twist Control – similar to accelerating on a motorcycle. The handle is twisted to accelerate and pushed toward the floor to brake.

Quad Hand Controls – consists of an extra L–shaped bracket attached to the hand controls.

Mechanical
Push/Rotary Control – operates by pushing forward to apply the brakes and rotating backward to apply the gas.

Lifts
Price Range :$600 – $18,000

An Automatic lift will fold, unfold, lower and rise by operating a switch on either side of the lift, on the dash or outside the van. The Semi-Automatic lift operates similar to the automatic lift, but requires manual folding and unfolding of the platform.

Electrical Mechanical Lift – operates by chain or screw rod and depends upon the power provided by the battery.

Hydraulic Lift – uses a pump and cylinder to raise and lower the lift in conjunction with the van’s battery.

Outside Lift – requires installing a trailer hitch as the scooter is carried on the outside of the vehicle.

Pickup Truck Lift – picks up the scooter and stores it in the bed of the truck. It can lift a rigid chair (manual), an electric scooter or a power wheelchair.

Platform Lift – (as shown above) requires either two side doors or one sliding door on a van and is stored either on the side, the rear or under the floor of the van.

Rotary (Swing) Lift – beneficial because of the parking conveniences, due to less room needed to enter and exit the van. This device swings into the van and the lift platform sits on the floor in the middle of the van.

Trunk Lift – puts the scooter into the trunk, provided the scooter measures less than the trunk.

Under-the-Floor Lift – only pump and motor are located inside.Door Openers
Price Range : $800 – $2,000

Chain Door Opener – slide door that travels in a track, located at the top of the van.

Pivot Arm and Push/Pull Gear Door Opener – opens double–out doors outward.

Power Assist Seats
Price Range : $1,800 – $6,800

Rotating Seat – This system for lower vehicles provides easy access to an automotive seat. The seat rotates out over the doorsill, bridging the gap for a safe transfer onto the seat. Once you’re on, the seat rotates back into the vehicle. Both manual and power versions are available.

Rotating and Lift Seat – This system for higher vehicles provides easy access to an automotive seat. The seat rotates, comes out of the vehicle, and lowers toward the ground, eliminating the climbing and twisting normally required to enter a higher vehicle. Units are powered out and down; however, some models are equipped with manual rotation, while others have powered rotation.

Steering Devices
Price Range : $50 – $350

Amputee Ring – designed best for those with prosthesis. The hook of the prosthesis will fit into the ring and remain in place while driving.

“Para” Spinner Knob – consists of a base, which is adjustable, and a detachable knob that can be comfortably gripped with one hand.

Palm Grip – ideal for someone who has control of the wrist but is limited in grip strength. The hand is always held flat to the steering wheel while driving.

Quad Grip with Pin – a 3/8″ steel shaft from a stiff leather cuff that inserts into the spinner base. A stable wrist is required. The pin may be attached on a horizontal or a vertical position.

Quad Steering Cuff or Splint – a wrist cock up splint with a post attached in a
vertical or horizontal position. It is ideal for persons either lacking hand and wrist function or those unable to use the above steering devices.

Spinner Cuff – operates as the hand is held in place by a cuff and fastened with Velcro. A lockable short rod is placed in the base of the steering wheel near the palm of the hand to allow the person to steer.

Tri-Post or Tri-Pin Spinner Knob – stabilizes & secures the hand & wrist while driving.

V-Grip or U-Grip – hand controls keep the hand in an upright position and in place while driving. It is used primarily by persons who have adequate use of wrist movements.

Deep Dish Steering Wheel – used for those who have limited reach to be able to turn the wheel safely due to its smaller size.

Foot Steering Controls – for drivers who need to maneuver the vehicle by their feet.

Horizontal Steering – the steering column is easily adjusted by motorization for those drivers with limited reach.

Steering Column Extension – the steering column is extended by 2-6 inches allowing room to steer for individuals driving from their wheelchairs.

Joystick – very similar to the joystick on a wheelchair, this larger scaled version allows the driver to maneuver the vehicle.

Low Effort Steering – reduces the effort needed to steer by approximately 40 percent.

Reduced Effort Steering – for drivers who have limited use of their upper extremities.

Servo Controls – unlike the other hand controls, these operate by an auxiliary motor, rather than the pressure of an individual’s hand. It reduces the amount of strength needed by the driver.

Zero Effort Steering – reduces the effort needed to steer by approximately 70 percent.

Wheelchair Restraints
Price Range : $50 – $2,000

Electric Restraint System – consists of a device on the bottom of the chair and another device on the floor of the van. When the two devices are properly aligned, a lock will sound and the wheelchair will not move.

Manual Restraints or Tie-Downs System – requires an attendant because it cannot be operated from the wheelchair. Four straps are snugly placed around the four wheelchair wheels to help prevent rolling during vehicle movement.

Upper Torso Restraint – used in addition to the wheelchair restraints for those with weak muscles in the upper torso area and poor balance.Adaptive equipment describes an installed device, in addition to a structural modification, that is necessary for a person with a permanent physical disability to drive or be transported in a vehicle.

Some equipment not thought of as typical adaptive equipment, or equipment which is not available from the factory, that serves a need to operate or ride in a vehicle for persons with disabilities such as but not limited to: assist handles, keyless entry, keyless ignition switch, lumbar support, headrest adjustment, pedal extensions power seats, remote liftgate opener, running boards, seat belt extenders, seat modifications, and special mirrors may be eligible for reimbursement and require additional documentation. You will be notified if additional documentation is needed such as a letter or prescription clearly describing the permanent physical disability requiring this equipment, prepared by a licensed or certified medical professional.

Factory installed options such as air conditioning, running boards, lumbar seats and power windows are not considered eligible under the terms of the program.

Reimbursement Assistance
The reimbursement process is quick and easy. Once your vehicle has been purchased and adaptive equipment installation is completed, your dealer will assist you in submitting your claim. Your dealer will need the following documentation:

  • Vehicle Bill of Sale – must have the VIN included
  • Paid Adaptive Equipment Invoice – should be dated and marked paid

Your reimbursement check will then arrive directly from Ford Motor Company, usually within two to four weeks.

Frequently asked Questions

How do I apply for reimbursement?
Contact the Customer Care Center at (800) 952–2248 and a representative will assist with contacting your dealer.

What is the time period of the Ford Mobility Motoring Program and which vehicles are eligible?
Please visit your Ford or Lincoln dealer for complete program details including program effective dates and eligible vehicles.

How soon after I purchase or lease my new vehicle do I have to complete the adaptive equipment installation?
Claim must be submitted within 12 months of the reported sale date.

How do I receive my Ford Mobility Motoring financial reimbursement?
When the adaptive equipment installation has been completed on your new vehicle, either you or the adaptive equipment dealer will take the paid adaptive equipment invoice to the Ford or Lincoln dealer where you purchased or leased your new vehicle. You will receive a check mailed to you directly from Ford for up to $1,000 toward the cost of your adaptive equipment or up to $200 on after-market alert hearing devices, lumbar seats and running boards. Total reimbursement is not to exceed $1,000.

How long does it take to receive my check?
It usually takes 7-10 business days after the dealer submits the authorized claim and the claim is approved by Ford.

What adaptive equipment qualifies for the financial reimbursement?
Adaptive equipment is defined as any installed device that makes it easier for persons with disabilities to drive or be transported in a vehicle. Equipment that can be factory installed, or is considered a factory option by Ford, is not eligible. Equipment which is not clearly related to a specific medical need, such as after–market alert hearing devices, swivel seats, pedal extensions and running boards, will require original medical documentation clearly detailing the physical disability or permanent impairment for which the equipment is intended. This documentation must be prepared by a licensed, certified medical or medical–related professional.

May I go to any adaptive equipment installer or must I go to someone on your State Resource Guide listing?
You may take your vehicle to the adaptive equipment installer of your choice. The list provided for reference only and no endorsement is intended. You should verify information, check with adaptive equipment manufacturers and obtain complete references before any services are rendered.

Is it necessary for me to visit an assessment center before I qualify for Ford Mobility Motoring reimbursement?
No. If you already have equipment you’re going to transfer, or you know what equipment you need, it is not necessary for you to have an evaluation at an assessment center. However, it could be beneficial to have an evaluation every four years.

May I use the financial reimbursement toward the purchase or lease of my vehicle?
No. The Mobility reimbursement can only happen after you have supplied your Ford or Lincoln dealer with the paid invoice for your adaptive equipment installation.

Does newly purchased used adaptive equipment qualify?
Yes. As long as you have a paid receipt, newly purchased used equipment acquired for your installation will qualify for reimbursement.

Can the Ford Mobility Motoring financial reimbursement be used in combination with other incentives or rebates?
Yes. The Ford Mobility Motoring financial reimbursement may be combined with all other public and private offers, including the “Commercial Connection Program”, in effect at the time of purchase or lease.

Are Ford Mobility Motoring benefits available if I purchase or lease a new vehicle under the Ford A, X or Z Plans?
Yes. A, X and Z Plan vehicles are eligible as long as they otherwise meet plan provisions.

Are used vehicles, or vehicles which have previously been in rental or lease service, eligible?
No. Only new models purchased or leased from a Ford or Lincoln dealer are eligible.

Will Ford Mobility Motoring cover the cost of transferring my equipment from my old vehicle to a new vehicle?
Yes. The cost of the transfer installation to your new vehicle is covered with a paid receipt.

If I have a family member who requires adaptive equipment assistance to enter or ride in my new vehicle, will Ford Mobility Motoring cover the cost of the equipment for that person?
Yes. Adaptive equipment required to transport a person with a physical disability is covered up to the maximum of $1,000 and up to $200 on after–market alert hearing devices, lumbar seats and running boards. Total reimbursement is not to exceed $1,000.

Volkswagen Mobility Rebate

Volkswagen provides up to $1,000 towards the purchase and installation of mobility-access equipment in a new VW Routan. If modifications are less than $1,000, that amount is reimbursed.

Acura Mobility Rebate Information

Mobility Overview
Enhancing mobility for drivers with disabilities.

The Acura Mobility Program is proud to support the mobility needs of drivers and passengers with physical disabilities. When you purchase or lease an Acura vehicle, you will be provided with a cash reimbursement of up to $1,000 of the cost of aftermarket adaptive equipment that is installed on any eligible vehicle.
To download an application form, click here

Program Elements

Acura suggests that you request a copy of the Department of Transportation’s brochure, “Adapting Motor Vehicles for People with Disabilities.” Copies are available by visiting www.NHTSA.DOT.GOV . Search using key words “Adapting Motor Vehicles”. The process of adapting your vehicle includes the following steps:

  • Know your state’s driver’s license requirements.
  • You may wish to contact the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) to help identify the adaptive equipment that best meets your needs.
  • Select the right vehicle by collaborating with your evaluator, as well as a vehicle modification installer and your local Acura dealer before deciding on the best Acura model for you
  • Choose a qualified equipment installer to modify your vehicle. Take the time to find out about credentials, experience, references, warranty coverage and the services they provide. Make sure they are members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) or another organization that has established vehicle conversion standards.
  • Obtain training on the use of the new equipment. Your equipment dealer and evaluator should provide information and off-road instruction. You will also need to practice driving under the instruction of a qualified driving instructor until you both feel comfortable with your skills.


Program Guidelines
Acura will provide a reimbursement of up to $1,000 to each eligible, original retail client for the expenses incurred to purchase and install qualifying adaptive equipment on any eligible purchased or leased Acura vehicle.

Requirements

  • Only the original vehicle owner is eligible for reimbursement.
  • Modifications must be completed for the original owner or his/her immediate family.
  • Only new Acura vehicles retailed or leased in the United States from an authorized Acura dealership are eligible.
  • Only one reimbursement request per vehicle.
  • Lease vehicle modifications may be subject to written lessor approval. The client is responsible for determining and satisfying lease contract requirements.
  • Acura will consider reimbursement for modifications made to vehicles after February 1, 2004.
  • The written reimbursement request must be received within 6 months of the adaptive equipment installation.
  • Fleet and commercial vehicles are not eligible.
  • Any alteration or adaptive equipment that Acura has identified that alters the safety of the vehicle (i.e. seat belt extenders) is not eligible.

Adaptions, Modifications and Equipment Installation

  • Qualifying adaptive-equipment or conversion is defined as alterations or adaptive equipment installation that provide to the disabled user convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle.
  • Alterations or adaptive-equipment installation require a prescription or medical documentation to be considered for reimbursement.
  • Reimbursement requests (invoices) will be compared against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website to verify that the alterer or repair business (individual, partnership or corporation) is registered with NHTSA and that the modifications are on the list of NHTSA exemptions.
  • EXCEPTION: Wheelchair or scooter hoists or ramps do not require a prescription, medical documentation or NHTSA exemption verification and NHTSA business registration for reimbursement consideration.
  • EXCEPTION: Modifications that “DO NOT” make inoperative any part of a device or element of design that has been installed on or in a motor vehicle in compliance with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard will not require NHTSA exemption verification and NHTSA business registration for reimbursement consideration.
  • The installation of adaptive equipment must have taken place within the time and mileage limits of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty.
  • If all conditions are met, Acura will provide up to a $1,000 cash reimbursement. Acura will be the secondary coverage in the case of two or more reimbursement sources.* * A reimbursement made by another source such as medical insurance will be subtracted from the client’s original total expense. (Example: Total expense $5,000, Insurance reimbursement $4,000, Client expense $1,000. The client expense of $1,000 will be reviewed and considered for a maximum of $1,000 reimbursement.)

Important Client Information

  • The selection of an equipment manufacturer and installer is solely the client’s responsibility. (Acura does not evaluate or endorse any company or supplier involved in adaptive equipment. Mobility equipment warranty, installation warranty and related liabilities are not the responsibility of Acura.)
  • Clients can pick up an application at their local Acura dealer, via this website, or through Acura Client Relations.



Reimbursement Documentation and Proccess
Documentation required for reimbursement consideration:

  • Completed and signed Reimbursement Application
  • Proof of Vehicle Sales or Lease Agreement
  • Copy of invoice for adaptive-equipment installation and/or vehicle modification and proof of payment
  • Copy of state driver’s license to verify that the person is eligible to operate a modified vehicle
  • Copy of the prescription or medical documentation
  • Name of contributing medical insurance carrier/entity that provides primary support, and policy number


Reimbursements will be processed and mailed within 4 weeks of receipt of all required documentation. Reimbursement requests should be mailed to:
Acura Client Relations
P.O. Box 2964
Torrance, CA 90509-2964

CLIENT RESOURCES
Please call Acura Client Relations with any questions.

Acura
800-382-2238
www.acura.com

National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association
(NMEDA) 
800-833-0427
www.nmeda.org

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
www.nhtsa.dot.gov
To download an application form, click here

Acura reserves the right to modify or terminate this program without notice.

Acura does not assume responsibility for the quality, safety or efficiency of adaptive equipment or installation and cannot guarantee that such modifications comply with applicable government safety standards.




Frequently Asked Questions


Do reimbursements apply to used or fleet vehicles?
No. This program applies to only new Acura vehicles that are retailed or leased in the U.S.

How long will it take me to receive my reimbursement?
Payments will be mailed within 4 weeks of receipt of all required documentation.

What types of adaptive equipment can I obtain reimbursement for?
Acura will consider reimbursement for those modifications that have been approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). You can find more information on the NHTSA website.

What is the time limit to apply for a reimbursement?
The reimbursement request must be made within 6 months of the adaptive equipment installation.

Where can I get information on adaptive equipment?
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) provides a directory of dealers in your area.

Where do I get a reimbursement application?
In addition to the printable .PDF (Acrobat) format version of the form on this website, forms are also available at your local Acura dealer or upon request at Acura Client Relations at 1-800-382-2238.

Are used vehicles included in the Acura mobility assistance program?
Acura has limited the program to original vehicle owners/lessees whose vehicles are within the Manufacturer’s warranty period and who request reimbursement for NHTSA-approved and compliant modifications to their vehicles.

Does the Acura New Vehicle Limited Warranty cover modified vehicles and/or adaptive equipment?
No. The Acura New Vehicle Limited Warranty applies only to the Acura vehicle. It does not include the adaptive equipment, its installation or any other non-original equipment.

Does the installation of adaptive equipment void my warranty?
No, adaptive equipment and modifications unto themselves do not void the New Vehicle Limited Warranty that applies to the Acura product. However, if your vehicle experiences a problem/failure and that problem/failure is determined by Acura to be the direct result of the adaptive equipment and/or its installation, your warranty coverage may be voided for that particular repair. All warranty issues are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Volvo Mobility Rebate Information

Mobility by Volvo is an extension of the Volvo philosophy that travels with you from your retailer to your driveway. Our goal is to assist you, providing you with transportation solutions found within the extraordinary comfort and safety of a specially adapted Volvo.

Mobility by Volvo Program Reimbursemeny

  • Up to $1,000 toward the cost of adaptive equipment added to an eligible new Volvo
  • Up to $200 on alert hearing devices
  • Maximum reimbursement is $1,000.

You may contact Volvo to request an Information Kit or click to download the following resources:



Start the Reimbursement Process
To receive your reimbursement, you or your retailer must obtain a Mobility by Volvo Claim Form. You may contact the Mobility by Volvo Center at (800) 803-5222 or complete the Contact Us Form , to receive the Claim Form.

Eligible Adaptive Equipment
“Adaptive equipment” includes all permanently installed mobility devices, necessary for a person with a physical disability to drive, or be transported in, a vehicle. Options available from the factory or the retailer for installation, such as running boards and power-assisted seats, are not considered eligible for reimbursement.

Although a Driver Assessment Center is likely your best authority on what is right for you or a family member, here are examples of adaptive equipment installations available for Volvo vehicles, approved by Mobility by Volvo:

  • Carriers
  • Lifts/Hoists
  • Driving Aids/Hand Controls

Mobility by Volvo TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

  • Offer is limited to $1,000 toward the cost of adding adaptive equipment, and $200 on an alert hearing device, per vehicle. Maximum reimbursement is $1,000. Offer only available to legal U.S. residents. Offer is not transferable.
  • Offer only available for purchases of 2012 or 2013 model year new vehicles, properly retired courtesy cars, and retired demonstrators. Offer cannot be applied to the purchase of any other model year Volvo or Volvo courtesy car, models sold directly or indirectly outside of the United States, and/or VCIC (overseas delivery) program sales. Vehicles purchased as used are not eligible.
  • Claims must be submitted within 180 days of vehicle purchase.
  • Factory or retailer installation options, such as running boards and power-assisted seats, are not considered eligible for reimbursement.
  • Offer cannot be used toward the cost of the purchase or installation of Volvo options or accessories, and the payment of sales tax. This offer is subject to federal, state and local taxes.
  • Consumers should verify modification information and obtain complete modifier references before having the vehicle modified.

Contact your local Volvo retailer for complete details.



Volvo New Car Warranty
Damage caused by unapproved or improperly installed adaptive equipment, alert hearing devices and accessories will not be covered under the Volvo New Car Warranty. Owners should refer to the Volvo Warranty and Service Records Information booklet for additional warranty information. Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, assumes no responsibility for death, injury or expenses that my result from the installation of adaptive equipment, alert hearing device and non-genuine Volvo Accessories.


Note: The adaptive equipment listed above is subject to change and should be used for reference purposes only. Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, is providing this information for assistance and reference purposes only—no endorsement is intended. The quality of services and/or equipment provided by others can only be assured by the supplying organization. Consumers should verify information and obtain complete references before beginning any vehicle adaptation.

Subaru Mobility Rebate Information

The Subaru Mobile-It-Ease™ Program provides reimbursement of up to $500 on new Subaru vehicles from authorized Subaru dealers in the United States to help qualifying owners get necessary vehicle modification due to medically recognized physical disabilities.

Subaru Legacy, Outback, Impreza, Forester and Tribeca models can be modified to provide added features, including but not limited to:

  • Left-hand gear shifter
  • Hand and foot controls
  • Servo-assisted controls
  • Steering devices
  • Pedal extensions
  • Turn-signal modification

Subaru is proud to bring the active safety and reliability to as many drivers as possible.
See brochure for complete details.

Enroll in the Program

Get the Form

Download, print, complete and sign the Claim Form

Gather Documents

  1. Original Claim Form, completed and signed
  2. Purchase order from a Subaru dealership
  3. Doctor’s letter or prescription describing the condition and modification necessary
  4. Receipt from the installation facility that clearly shows payment was made in full


Mail the four documents to:
Submit Claim
Subaru of America, Inc. Customer Dealer Services Department
P.O. Box 6000
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Please allow at least four to six weeks for processing.

Qualifications

  • Applies only to the purchase of new Subaru vehicles from authorized Subaru dealers in the United States.
  • The Mobile-It-Ease™ program covers only necessary equipment to adapt an eligible Subaru vehicle for persons with disabilities. The adaptations require a prescription or letter from a medical doctor. (Subaru factory optional equipment is not reimbursable under this program.)
  • Subaru will reimburse up to $500 of vehicle modifications
  • Vehicle modifications must be made within six months of vehicle purchase. A properly completed Claim Form for reimbursement along with all necessary supporting documentation (listed above) must be submitted to Subaru of America, Inc.’s CDS Department within 180 days of installation (refer to address on claim form).
  • Subaru of America, Inc.’s decision on eligibility is final.

Adaptations
The following items are considered obvious adaptations that would qualify for this program, though they may not apply to your vehicle. If your adaptation is not on this list, or if you have any questions, please call 1-800-SUBARU-3 for approval.

  • Reduced Effort Brakes
  • Driving Consoles
  • Elbow Switches
  • Emergency Back-Up Brake System
  • Foot Control Steering
  • Gear Selector Lever for Left Hand
  • Hand Controls
  • Left Foot Accelerator
  • Parking Brake – Electric
  • Parking Brake – Extension Lever
  • Quad Key Holder/Turner
  • Servo Assisted Controls
  • Siren Detectors
  • Steering System – Emergency Back-Up
  • Steering System – Reduced and Zero Effort
  • Turn Signal Lever for Right Hand
  • Wheelchair and/or Scooter Lifts or Ramps
  • Wheelchair Carrier on Top of Vehicle
  • Steering Devices


(Factory Option Power Seats NOT ELIGIBLE for reimbursement.)

Hyundai Mobility Rebate Information

Get up to $1,000.00
Toward the cost of installing
Adaptive Equipment in your new Hyundai.

Overview

We believe in the freedom that goes along with driving your own car. But we also know that buying and modifying a new vehicle can be expensive. To help out, Hyundai is offering $1,000 toward the cost of adaptive equipment. Everything you need to get started is right here, including links to informative guides, fact sheets, and specialists who can help you determine the equipment and training you need.


The process is simple:

  1. Review the eligibility requirements and program details below
  2. Download and complete the one-page mobility form
  3. Mail vehicle purchase documents and completed mobility form to Hyundai Motor America

Eligibility Requirements and Program Details

What vehicles are eligible?

  • New, unused 2012, and 2013 model year Hyundai vehicles sold or leased and delivered to a retail customer by an authorized Hyundai Dealership in the U.S.A. are eligible for reimbursement under this program.
  • Fleet sales and vehicles purchased from a source other than an authorized dealer of Hyundai Motor America are not eligible.


What equipment is eligible?

  • Any aftermarket alterations or equipment installation on an eligible Hyundai vehicle that provides to the user convenient access and/or the ability to drive the vehicle.
  • Equipment which is not clearly related to a specific medical need, such as altering devices, swivel seats, pedal extensions, and running boards, will require original medical documentation clearly detailing the physical disability or permanent impairment for which the equipment is intended. This documentation must be prepared on a letterhead by a licensed, certified medical or medical-related professional.
  • Damage caused by unapproved or improperly installed adaptive equipment, alert hearing devices, and accessories will not be covered under the Hyundai new-car warranty. Owners should refer to the Hyundai Warranty and Service booklet for additional warranty information.
  • Labor for equipment transferred from the old vehicle into the new Hyundai vehicle is only eligible when the cost of the labor is clearly stated in the invoice from the adaptive equipment company.
  • Hyundai accessories are NOT eligible for reimbursement.

Program details:

  • Maximum Mobility reimbursement is up to $1,000 of the total equipment and labor costs.
  • Only one reimbursement per customer.
  • Reimbursements will be made to the customer only—not to the dealership or any adaptive equipment company.
  • The mobility equipment must be installed within six months of the vehicle purchase or lease.
  • The Hyundai Mobility Form and required documentation must be submitted to Hyundai Motor America within 60 days of complete installation of adaptive equipment.
  • Hyundai Mobility financial assistance cannot be applied toward the purchase or lease of a new Hyundai vehicle.
  • Hyundai Motor America assumes no responsibility for death, injury, or expenses that may result from the installation of adaptive equipment, alert hearing devices, and non-genuine Hyundai Accessories.
  • The offer is good from January 3, 2013 through January 2, 2014.

Download and Complete the Claim Form
Once you’ve purchased a vehicle and your adaptive equipment has been installed, complete the one-page Hyundai Mobility Form. Next, collect copies of the following documents:

  • The Purchase Agreement or Sales Contract
  • Itemized and paid invoice(s) from the adaptive equipment company. The invoice must clearly state the customer’s full name, the eligible Hyundai vehicle, and the Hyundai Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Your vehicle’s registration
  • If the equipment is not clearly related to a specific medical need, you’ll also need documentation from a medical professional that states the purpose of the equipment (Please see “What equipment is eligible” above)

download the form

Mail Hyundai Your Claim
Finally, mail the completed form and the documents you’ve collected to one of the addresses below.
Be sure to make a copy of your paperwork for your records.

Hyundai Motor America
Incentives Department
P.O. Box 20850
Fountain Valley, CA 92728
(Regular Mail)

OR

Hyundai Motor America
Incentives Department
3200 Park Center Drive
Mail Center Floor #2
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(Overnight Mail)

General Motors Mobility Rebate Information

Through the GM Mobility Reimbursement Program, new vehicle purchasers/lessees who install eligible adaptive mobility equipment on their new Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicles can receive up to a $1,000 reimbursement for the cost of the equipment.

PLUS
Two extra years of standard OnStar® service, at no additional cost on all 2011–2013 Chevrolet, Buick and GMC vehicles equipped with OnStar. The Directions & Connections® Plan is standard for six months on most 2012-2014 GM vehicles.

Taking advantage of both offers is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Buy or lease an eligible, new 2012–2014 Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicle equipped with OnStar.
Vehicles that are not eligible: All Cadillacs. 2013 Chevrolet Caprice, Captiva Sport, Spark, Volt, Buick Encore and Verano are not eligible.
  2. Purchase and install (or reinstall) your eligible adaptive mobility equipment.
  3. Apply for GM Mobility Reimbursement:
    • Download an Application Form
    • Request an Application by Mail

The purchaser and the GM dealer representative will need to complete and sign the reimbursement application, than submit the application with a paid receipt for the mobility equipment and installation.

If you’re uncertain of the eligibility of the adaptive equipment or vehicle you’re considering purchasing or leasing, call the GM Mobility Assistance Center at 1-800-323-9935.

The GM Mobility Reimbursement Program offer with OnStar is valid through 9/30/13. To qualify for the reimbursement offer, vehicles must be adapted and a claim must be submitted within 6 months from the date of purchase/lease. To take advantage of the OnStar® offer, vehicle must be equipped with OnStar. The OnStar offer has no redeemable cash value and is nontransferable. Other program rules apply. For offer details, visit your local dealer/retailer or call the GM Mobility Assistance Center at 1-800-323-9935.

OnStar Offer
OnStar®1 is more than a button you push – it’s a connection you make with the outside world. Every day. It’s powerfully simple services take care of you and take you places.

Services like Automatic Crash Response that alerts OnStar for help even if you can’t ask for it. And Turn-by-Turn Navigation that can keep you on course, whether you’re traveling around the block or across the country. And so much more.

Customers who receive GM Mobility reimbursement on an eligible vehicle get two extra years of standard OnStar service. This OnStar mobility offer is at no additional cost and is on top of the standard OnStar service included on new OnStar equipped GM vehicles. Directions & Connections® Plan is standard for six months on most 2012-2014 GM vehicles.

OnStar. Safely connecting you in ways you never thought possible. Live on.

Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I apply for GM Mobility reimbursement?
Either download a printable application form or submit an online request. We’ll mail you a complete brochure including an application form.

How can I make sure my vehicle is eligible?
For the GM Mobility Reimbursement Program, in effect until September 30, 2013, you must purchase or lease1 a new and unused (not previously titled) 2012, 2013 or 2014 Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicle. To qualify for two extra years of standard OnStar® service, vehicle must be a 2012–2014 Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicle equipped with OnStar. To confirm eligibility of your vehicle, call the GM Mobility Assistance Center at 1-800-323-9935. You will need your vehicle identification number (VIN). Confirmation of vehicle eligibility does not imply claim approval.

What adaptive equipment qualifies for reimbursement?
See complete list of eligible adaptive equipment. Except for OnStar TTY equipment and safety belt extenders, GM regular production options and GM Accessories are not eligible for GM Mobility reimbursement. This includes, but is not limited to, assist steps and running boards. Repairs and adjustments to equipment are also not eligible for reimbursement. Safety belt extenders are not eligible for the OnStar offer.

Is used adaptive equipment eligible?
Yes, provided it is on the list of eligible adaptive equipment and purchased from and installed by a licensed equipment installer. The cost to transfer equipment installed in your previous vehicle to your new eligible vehicle is also reimbursable.

Are assist steps/running boards eligible for reimbursement?
Assist steps/running boards are reimbursable if they are not available as a regular GM production option or dealer-/retailer-installed accessory, regardless of whether the vehicle is bought out of dealer stock or ordered. A maximum $200 GM Mobility Reimbursement is allowed. A physician’s signature and description of your disability/limitation are required. Call the GM Mobility Assistance Center if you have questions.

Can I incorporate reimbursement into the terms of my vehicle sales contract?
It may be possible. Contact your Chevrolet, Buick or GMC dealer for details.

Can I use the reimbursement with other factory rebates and incentives?
Yes. The GM Mobility Reimbursement incentive may be combined with other publicly offered incentive programs that are in effect at the time of purchase or lease, including most fleet and commercial incentives.

How soon after I purchase/lease my new vehicle do I have to complete the equipment installation and apply for reimbursement?
To take advantage of the GM Mobility Reimbursement Program, you must have the vehicle adapted and submit a claim within 6 months of the date of purchase/lease. Other program rules apply.

Are there any other ways I can offset the cost of purchasing adaptive equipment?
The cost of durable automotive adaptive equipment for use by persons with disabilities may be offset with federal income tax credits and deductions, state sales and use tax deductions, funding through state rehabilitation vocational agencies, and medical insurance providers. Consult with your tax advisor/preparer, appropriate state social service agency, and/or insurance provider to see what benefits you might be eligible for. Your savings could be substantial.

Mobility Financial Assistance

Ally Financing
Qualified customers can finance qualified aftermarket mobility equipment with their new Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicle through Ally mobility vehicle financing programs available at local GM dealers/retailers. Ally extended-term financing or the Ally Smart Lease program may be able to make your vehicle purchase even easier.1 Visit ally.com/auto or your local GM dealer for more details.

SmartLease Eligibility (new and used vehicles)

  • Eligible adaptive conversions are limited to those that can be removed from the vehicle at lease termination without affecting the original configuration or condition of the vehicle. Examples include wheelchair storage devices and hand-brake devices.
  • If the physical structure of the vehicle must be modified to accommodate the adaptive conversion, the vehicle remains eligible for conventional retail financing but not for SmartLease. Examples include raising or lowering all or part of the floor of a van, altering the size of any of a vehicle’s door openings, cutting or reshaping any part of the body or frame of a vehicle to accommodate lifting mechanisms, etc.
  • Qualified adaptive conversions and/or their installation may be capitalized but not residualized.
  • The Addendum must be signed by the customer, stipulating that the equipment will be removed at lease termination/contract end and the vehicle returned to its original condition, subject to normal wear and tear. The addendum states that the customer will bear the costs for removal of adaptive conversions.

SmartLease Addendum

GM Mobility Reimbursement Program (new vehicles)
Financial mobility financing for eligible adaptive equipment is available through the GM Mobility Reimbursement Program. New vehicle purchasers/lessees who install or reinstall eligible adaptive mobility equipment on their new Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicles can receive a combination of financial assistance and the protection and convenience of OnStar®:

Up to $1,000 reimbursement for eligible adaptive equipment.
PLUS two additional years of standard OnStar service on qualified Chevrolet, Buick or GMC vehicles.

Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. military veterans may be eligible for financial assistance through their VA benefits when equipping a vehicle with adaptive equipment. Call 1-800-827-1000 or visit www.va.gov for more information.

Are there any other ways I can offset the cost of purchasing automotive adaptive equipment?
The cost of durable automotive adaptive equipment for use by persons with disabilities may be offset with federal income tax credits and deductions, state sales and use tax deductions, funding through state rehabilitation vocational agencies, and medical insurance providers. Consult with your tax advisor/preparer, appropriate state social service agency and/or insurance provider to see what benefits you might be eligible for. Your savings could be substantial.

Mobility Resources

National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA)
When selecting mobility equipment installers, shop around and inquire about their qualifications, capabilities, experience, warranty and service practices. Ask for references. Ask if they are members of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) and if they are QAP-certified. NMEDA is committed to providing automotive adaptive equipment solutions for people with disabilities. In this effort, NMEDA has implemented the Quality Assurance Program (QAP), a nationally recognized accreditation program for mobility equipment dealers.

The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED)
ADED is devoted to helping individuals with disabilities locate driver evaluators and trainers who can conduct an assessment of a person’s abilities (cognitive, perceptual and physical) and adaptive equipment needs, an important step in the selection process. Call 1-866-672-9466 or visit www.driver-ed.org for more information.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
There are many variables to consider when obtaining adaptive equipment for your vehicle. We suggest you request a copy of the Department of Transportation brochure “Adapting Motor Vehicles For People With Disabilities” by calling 1-888-327-4236 or visiting www.nhtsa.gov. Following a proven process can help you avoid costly mistakes when purchasing and modifying a vehicle with adaptive equipment.

Other Resources

  • American Association of People with Disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Disorder Resource
  • Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
  • Eastern Michigan Deaf & Hard of Hearing Information Site
  • Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America guide to accessible gasoline stations
  • Mobility Corner
  •  National Organization on Disability